THEAUSSIEWORD.COM special interview with Will Day.
How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?
I was about 14 when my parents bought me my first guitar. I started off my learning Cat Stevens and Joni Mitchell songs. I was playing in local venues in my hometown of Goondiwindi by the time I was 16. It was starting from a young enough age to realise hey maybe I can make a career out of this. That is what drew my interest to the industry.
What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?
My family are a great motivator. My wife and two young children are always the first to hear a rough mix of a track. If it puts a smile on their face, I know that it will probably be ok.
What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish?
My biggest goal has always been to grow a career that has longevity. I want to create music that will stand the test of time and have a fan base that is truly passionate about what I do. At the end of the day it’s your fan base that buys your albums, comes to your shows and stands by you in the toughest of times. If I look forward 20 years I would have loved to release at least 5 more albums by then and taken my music to all around Australia as well some parts of the world. I’m obviously keen to play in America but would like to take my brand of country to Canada and the UK as well.
What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?
I do have plans to tour but I suppose like everyone in our industry that really depends on what COVID does. If all goes well I will have a full touring schedule down through QLD, the East Coast and then into South Australia, where I have major festival shows at Curdimurka Outback Ball and 500 Miles of Music. I’ll be releasing another single after this current one, and two more this year.
Tell us a bit about your latest release ‘Won’t Break Me’ and how would you best describe your music?
I describe my music as country rock verses singer/songwriter. It’s a real blend of both although this latest album is definitely on the country rock side of things. ‘Won’t Break Me’ is a song about not being broken down by outside forces and sticking at the dream as cliché as that sounds. We know all about that in the music industry. You have to be prepared to work really hard to survive and try not be broken.
Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?
I’m a real melody guy. Most of the time melody comes first. Although sometimes it combines itself with a lyrical idea and I’m away. I once got told that a great song has to have a great idea first. As in not even a title or melody but an idea and purpose for writing it – that’s the challenging part. Most of my little melody/lyric ideas come just before I go to sleep for some reason so I always have to have the voice memos handy.
Success, what is the secret to it?
Can I tell you when I find it? In all seriousness I feel like I have a long way to go to reach a point when I can say I’m successful. However, I think we probably get too down on ourselves sometimes as creatives and aren’t that great at realising where we’ve come from and what we’ve achieved in the journey so far. So if I look at it from that perspective and to answer your question, definitely persistence and hard work. There simply is no other way in my opinion.
What has been your biggest career highlight so far?
Finally releasing my debut album in 2021 was a big highlight as it feels like it’s been a while in the making. Also playing the CMC Rocks event at Beef Week in Rockhampton in front of 5000 people was a great highlight too.
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?
Keith Urban definitely, he’s a big inspiration of mine. I am a big fan of Travis Collins and how he has gone about his career. He manages to keep releasing great music but stay true to himself and his style and sound. I think this is really inspiring and feel it creates that longevity I was talking about as well as fans that will last a lifetime.
Are there any new projects in the pipeline?
Yep, there sure are. After I release the final single from the album in a couple of months, I’ll be heading back into the studio to record another single or two which I’ll be releasing in 2022.
The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself a few years?
Hopefully back on the road and touring without the fear of things being cancelled so unpredictably. The plan is to release another album in 2023 which will keep me busy promoting that into 2024. I have plans to head to Canada and the U.S as well, most likely in 2023 if we can travel internationally by then.
What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?
My favourite part is being on the road and being on stage which has been very limited since COVID. I’m looking forward to getting back to that when I can. I also love how you can connect with people through your music. A song like ‘Dear Dad’ for example. I had a lot of people reach out to me after I released that song saying how it really meant something to them. That’s a special feeling.
Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?
I can speak from a country music perspective as a whole and feel we’re in a pretty good place. COVID has been very challenging but it’s a testament to our industry that artists keep releasing music even when they can’t tour. Country radio in Australia is so amazing and has really gotten behind us as artists and continue to spin our music. In regards to social media, I’m not the most ‘outgoing type’ when it comes to this but I try to post and share with my fans things that relate to my music. I figure that’s why they follow me and support me on these platforms. We have our different strategies for social media I suppose. Regardless of how you use it, they’re all great platforms to connect. I really need to get on the TikTok band wagon next…
Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?
I love collaborating. Most of my album are co-writes including ‘Won’t Break Me’. I would love to write with Craig Campbell, I think he is fantastic.
What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Honestly for me, it’s all about absolute persistence. You have to just make a decision to work really hard and not stop. Talent and natural ability is obviously important but that’s not even half the battle. You have to be prepared to do the nitty gritty behind the scenes kind of stuff for years and years on end.
A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans?
As mentioned earlier, in times of COVID and virtually no touring, the best way to connect with my fans is through social media. In saying that, I’d much rather see their smiling faces at a show. Nothing beats connecting with people at a live gig and then getting to hang out with them after the show. I miss that.
Any last words?
Honestly the arts and more specifically the live music sector is hurting very badly right now. The thing is, is hasn’t been for a few months, it’s been continuous for 2 years now. It’s absolutely brutal. Go to a live gig as soon as you (safely) can and buy merchandise from your favourite artist in these tough times. I feel extremely grateful to the people that follow and support me and continue to stick with me and my music. There really are some exciting things coming up for me to stay tuned. Big thanks to The Aussie Word for the ongoing support.