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February/March 2013

by Emily Ford

Fresh Talent: Jesse Will

by Emily Ford

Fresh Talent: Jesse Will

Summer has been kind to Jesse Will. The Auckland singer/songwriter was named Roundhead Studios Songwriter of the Year last year and he just finished recording his debut EP, ‘Hold Your Cards’.

The 23-year-old is moving to London in March with plans to secure a record label deal.

“I’ve been in contact with a couple of indie labels and they’ve expressed some interest in my songs so I’m going to meet them when I go over. We’ll see what happens.”

Not bad, considering he only decided to get serious about a music career last year when he enrolled at MAINZ in Auckland and started writing songs.

“In the first semesters holiday break I locked myself in my room for two weeks and wrote these songs,” he says. “It’s more like storytelling to me. I prefer writing something that has depth and putting an equally affecting melody to it.”

It was his standout songwriting that got him selected for the Roundhead Studios award at his end of year graduation.

“I was convinced I wouldn’t get it because the calibre of songwriters in the course was very high,” Will says. “I was pretty humbled by it all.”

The win resulted in a two-day recording session and two music videos. ‘Hold Your Cards’, made up of three songs – Hold Your Cards, Indigo and Mama, Say – is like a collection of stories he says.

“When I write songs I think of them as little three minute movies.”

While his music could be described as a mixture of folk, alternative, indie, and ballads, Will wants to leave his options open to any genre, calling his music “white boy soul”. Despite his wide-ranging musical influences, he finds a diet of Disney music as a child still affects him.

“When I listen to some of my songs it messes with me because I can still hear the Disney influences. There are beautiful soundtracks to those movies.”

Despite the evident confidence, he remains realistic.

“It’s a risk, and to choose music or acting or any art form as a career, you’ve got to be a little bit crazy. There’s no guarantee of any kind of financial stability. The good thing about the folk scene is it’s really accessible. Everyone’s really friendly and they’re keen to hear fresh stuff, he says. “You’re not going to jeopardise anything because it’s just little old you with your guitar.”