Interview: I Am Willow
I Am Willow is a London-based, but Malta-born-and-bred singer-songwriter. Being nominated and having won several awards at the Malta Music Awards back in 2009 strengthened her decision to move to the United Kingdom, and since then it has only gone uphill: from performances at various venues such as the Royal Festival Hall to recording sessions with Grammy winner Steve Orchard to signing her first publishing deal – I Am Willow’s career set off. I asked the rising artist with the honest lyrics and powerful vocals about her experience with Sting, why she moved to London in the first place and more. Check out below.
Your vocals are incredibly powerful. Who is your musical inspiration?
Why thank you! I’ve already mentioned a few however one recent influence and huge inspiration is Kevin Garrett who I’ve seen live a few times and each time he seems to get better and better. It would be a dream to collaborate with him.
You are set to release an EP in 2017, what can we expect from it?
I’m actually putting out a few singles first. The EP will be arriving in the second half of 2017. My influences vary but are highlighted by the likes of Woodkid, M83, Banks and Sia. I’ve been writing for a lot of other artists and in the process of doing so I’ve discovered my own sound. It’s very cinematic but it has clear signs of a pop addict. I’m hoping to take you on a journey with me and leave you humming melodies for days.
The likes of Annie Lenox and Sting are your fans – how was your experience in working together and performing for them?
I performed at an after party of Sting. That was definitely a fun experience. However, nothing could have prepared me for the call asking me to perform privately for Annie Lenox the next day. That was something else entirely. I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous in my entire life. But it turned out to be one of my most treasured experiences. I met the wonderful human being that Annie is. She took me in her arms after my performance and offered her wisdom. Soon after offering me a record and publishing deal which sadly never panned out. But her offer of some studio time did, and I’m very grateful.
Who or what inspired you to write your current single Satellite? Do you get influenced by your own life situations when you’re writing songs?
In this case, as in most cases, yes. I do get influenced by my own experiences and as it happens, I’m as moody as an artist gets, so I often have things to express (hahaha). Satellite was written during the reconciliation of a relationship which is why it’s about breaking down my wall and freeing myself to trust that all will be well.
What aspirations did you have when moving to England? Do you think it’s easier to emerge as an artist there than in Malta?
Well, London is well known for being a mecca for musicians. I knew I’d be inspired and learn from the amazing talents that exist here. Malta is also very full of talent, however there isn’t as much of a platform for it which is why artists there rarely reach their full potential. I feel confident that London, as well as LA (where I often go to write), are great stepping stones towards a professional and successful career if that’s paired with hard work and good relationship building. Not to mention of course a little bit of talent.
Where can you see yourself music-wise in 5 years?
I see myself having a solid career both as an artist in the sync world as well as a writer for other artists. I am very proud of how far I’ve come in both these areas and I work very very hard at making sure they bear fruit. It’s no easy journey and I’m very realistic about that. But if things keep moving in the direction they’re going in right now, the only thing that can stop me is myself. And I don’t plan to let that happen.
You have collaborated with the two biggest selling record artists in Japan and China- How did that collab arise? Do you have a fondness for the music and culture over there?
As a writer I receive several briefs. But sometimes the songs you write for specific artists get picked up by others. That was the case here. I never really had any particular ties or influences in that part of the world but I do absolutely love their musical scales which influence my melodies regardless. Maybe that’s why the songs got picked.
Has it always been your dream to become a musician? What made you decide to choose this career path?
I’ve played the piano since I was 4. My grandma was my teacher. Yes, music has definitely been a big part of my upbringing. But it wasn’t necessarily encouraged as a career path. That was completely my decision. I was 10 when I started writing songs and became hooked. I was writing a song a day. That’s how I knew that I wanted to pursue the career of a musician.
Watch the music video to her current single Satellite below