Hotly tipped as one of South Africa’s newest stars, singer-songwriter Will Linley has just unveiled his debut EP, Kill All My Feelings.
The songwriter’s growth over the past year has been monumental. Linley’s debut single miss me (when you’re gone) only dropped last year and it has racked up a staggering 15 million global streams, over a million Youtube views, and five million plus views on TikTok. So you can say that things are going pretty well for the rising artist. Raised in Cape Town, South Africa, the 20-year-old has always been creative, even as a child. Will spent his formative years singing as a hobby but it wasn’t until the pandemic hit that he delved into honing his craft and giving the whole music career route a go. Undoubtedly the response has exceeded any expectation he might have had but when you analyse it, it’s easy to see why he’s currently blowing up. The vocalist loves to “tell a story” with his music, his distinctive vocals guide you through the tales he’s weaving, and each tune has something you can relate to. He’s now ready to introduce himself to an even broader audience with the release of his debut EP, Kill All My Feelings.
So to celebrate the release of his new extended play, Will Linley spoke to 1883 Magazine about his newly released project and more.
Hi Will, Your debut EP Kill All My Feelings is out now. Can you please tell us about the writing process for it? You’ve mentioned that you didn’t want this project to be categorised by “one sound”. So with that in mind did you work harder to have a more diverse sound on Kill All My Feelings?
The writing process for this EP was such an interesting one. It mainly took place over zoom and it was very rare to find us all in one room working on the songs. For me, I wanted to create music that felt unique and interesting to listen to so I did my best not to create any particular boxes that I wanted ticked when it came to completing this project. When I think of the creative process behind the EP, we always made sure we were having fun when creating the songs. As soon as a song didn’t feel right we were happy to leave it and start something new, that’s why I think we have such a diverse-sounding EP, we weren’t scared to throw different ideas around to see what stuck for us creatively.
For anyone who doesn’t know you yet, how would you describe your sound, Will? And what’s one fun fact that people might not know about you?
Right now I don’t think I particularly have a sound, what makes a Will Linley song a “Will Linley song” is that I sing them! Something you may not know about me is that I was in an opera when I was 9 years old and am the youngest of four boys!
What’s your favourite track from the EP and why?
I love Kill All My Feelings because when it’s performed live, it takes on a completely different form.
As you grew up in a very musical family, we’re keen to hear about the concerts you put on with your brothers. Did you all start a band together?
I wish we started a band! The best we did was play at a couple of our friends’ wedding receptions but that was the extent of our musical endeavours. However, we’d often play shows at home for our dad when he would come home from work. It wasn’t ever anything too exciting!
I think it’s really interesting how in this day and age, an artist can start their music career from their bedroom essentially. You mentioned in a past interview that you previously couldn’t imagine music as a career because you’re not from America or Europe. But the 15 million global streams on your 2021 debut single Miss Me (When You’re Gone) have proven it can be done. When you started out, what did you do to gain traction in your career? And what advice would you give to others who want to release music?
I harnessed the power of social media and used that to kickstart my career. I knew the only way I’d grab the attention of anyone was going to be through social media and TikTok and so I put my all into creating videos and content for people to watch and gain a better understanding into who Will Linley was. If I had to speak to anyone starting out today I would say to them to trust the process of putting things up on social media because you never know who will see your content. There’s no harm in trying!
Are there any artists or bands from your area of South Africa that you think everyone needs to check out?
Manana, Lloyiso, Matthew Mole and Chxrl.
We need to talk about your upcoming tour dates with Matthew Mole! How are you feeling about the Europe/UK tour? It’s going to be your first show in London right?
It is indeed! I have been playing so many shows in South Africa in order to become show fit. I feel like I’m in a really great space and also feel like I am putting on a really fun show for people to watch. I’m super nervous because these are my first shows outside of South Africa, but I know that nerves are a good thing and I think it’ll all go smoothly!
Finally, what’s next for Will Linley?
After the tour with Matthew I come home to play a festival called “Rocking the Daisies” which has been a dream of mine for a really long time. After that who knows… maybe some music will be released but i’m not allowed to say haha.
Kill All My Feelings is out now. Follow Will Linley @Willlinleyy
Interview by Cameron Poole
Photography by Andi Elloway