Will Bowes

Will Bowes

Canadian artist Will Bowes released his debut single “Mad At The World” on September 4th. 

The Toronto-based singer/songwriter delivers an honest and emotional pop ballad entitled “Mad At The World”. Written by Bowes and produced by Andrew Dawson, the record was inspired by Toronto’s tragic events that occurred earlier this year. 

“I consider myself to be a pretty positive and optimistic person. I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that the general state of the world has weighed heavily lately. Beyond the obvious social and political context, the recent attacks in Toronto were what really hit home and inspired me to write this song. Sometimes looking beyond fear and staying positive can feel impossible, especially in times of adversity. But it’s important to forge on and not admit defeat, which is why I wanted to make sure the song also reflected that sense of optimism,” says Bowes. 

Currently working on some more original music, Bowes will also be releasing a record with the soul/pop band Gold Complex later this year. 

“Mad At The World” is now available worldwide. 

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Introduce yourself. 

Hi Music Lift! My name is Will Bowes and I’m an artist from Toronto, Canada!

What’s your story? 

Well, I’m a singer/songwriter, filmmaker and actor from Toronto. I’ve been working in the creative industries since I was little and music has always been an integral part of my life so I’m really excited to be sharing this new release!

Do you remember your first musical memories? 

Definitely. I always loved to sing as a kid and for some reason I became obsessed with flags and memorizing every national anthem in the world. No word of a lie, when I was 4 or 5 I had a stand outside of my house and people could pay twenty-five cents and I would sing them any national anthem in the world. Like a lemonade stand, but instead of lemonade I sold performances of national anthems. I then became obsessed with Neil Young, and his was the first concert I ever saw, at 6 years old and I still remember it vividly. My parents told me I got a contact high that night. 

At what point did you decide to become an artist? What did your family and friends think of it? 

I’m not sure there was a definitive moment where I decided to become an artist. It feels like it was always in my blood and I grew into it naturally. Growing up, my parents were actors and doing theatre around the country so I was always surrounded by creative people. Since my childhood I gravitated towards the arts, music and film mainly.. thankfully it was welcomed by my friends and family, probably due to the fact that everyone around me was involved in the arts. I always felt very encouraged. 

When did you start writing songs? Do you remember the first song you ever wrote? 

Yes, I was 8 years old when I wrote my first full song, and I remember it was called “Shadow.” It was the first time I remember understanding what a verse and a chorus and a bridge were and where they got placed in traditional sequence. 

Tell us about your first experiences in the music industry. What lessons have you learnt since then? 

You know those dollar bins you used to see at Walmart or the grocery store full of CD’s of “Kids sing pop” or “Kids celebrate America”… I used to be one of the child singers on those albums. I was about 9 when I started, and it was my first experience singing in the recording studio, also my first time making money using my singing voice. Then when I was 11, I released an original single in Canada, “September Cry”, in response to the 9/11 tragedy. That was my first experience releasing original material. It would probably take days to write out all of the lessons that I’ve learned since that time, but I will say that one lesson I’ve learned is that if you’re going to navigate the music industry, you really do need to trust what you’re selling as an artist. I think audiences can instinctively tell when an artist or a band doesn’t truly believe in the music they’re making. So trusting yourself, at least to some degree, is like a mandatory requirement I think. Because there will always be doubt, always, doubt might never go away and it’s always trying to knock you over. But that level of trust that you build in yourself is like the foundation that stands tall against it. And if that foundation is strong enough then doubt will always lose!

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You’ve just released your new single “Mad At The World”. What’s the story behind it? Who did you work with?  

Yes! And thank you guys for featuring it. This song was weirdly effortless, to be honest, in the sense that it just came from a place of truth and I didn’t overanalyze it. I started writing it after Toronto suffered a disgusting incel van attack and random shooting earlier this year. Those events, combined with the general negativity and disarray of kindness among the human race was making me really depressed. And I’m not a depressed person, but I just felt like there was a black cloud hanging around me, I think a lot of us did and still do. So I started writing the song based on how I was feeling and the melody and lyrics just came very naturally. I played it for my longtime friend and musical collaborator, Andrew Dawson, and he produced the track in it’s entirety. It was definitely his belief in the song that saw it through to the finish line. 

When did you know you had to release “Mad At The World” as a single? 

Andrew and I were working on the track at his home studio. We played an early mix for his girlfriend, Ally, who is a great friend of mine as well and is constantly subjected to our musical creations, for better or worse! I remember she was like “you should just…release it!” Then after Andrew and I finished it, I think we just knew it needed to exist in the world, especially right now. We’ve also been working on a separate record with our band, Gold Complex, for a few years now. And so it was really liberating to complete a project like this relatively quickly and just release it into the world!

How do you feel now that you’ve released this song? What does this song mean to you? 

Overall it feels great. So far the feedback has been incredible, so that’s really positive. The doubt I mentioned earlier was definitely skulking around, though. After we got the final master of the track, I called Andrew and was like “is this too pop? Too dramatic? Could I have sung that line better?” And he goes “No. The song IS dramatic. Period.” And it is. It’s unapologetically dramatic, which is what I think a great pop ballad should be. 

Listen to “Mad At The World” here. 

What message do you want to deliver to the world with this new music? 

I have to be careful not to step into cheesy or dramatic territory here… but truly it’s this… sometimes it’s necessary to acknowledge the things that we are dissatisfied about. It doesn’t mean indulging those things or reveling in them at all. But acknowledging them is the only way we can move past them. And to that end, it’s equally as important to maintain a sense of optimism. As we’ve seen time and time again sadly, fear and negativity are often the path of least resistance we take in times of adversity. So it’s up to us to consciously choose love and positivity… see now that sounds cheesy but it’s just true. I refuse to spend my lifetime whining about the state of the world around me. How pointless is that?

You are also an actor. Does your experiences as an actor help you shape your artistry as a musician? In what way? 

I definitely think that the two go hand in hand, to a certain degree. With any song, particularly this one, you really have to tap into it’s emotional core in the performance for it to work. Same goes for acting. And I really do feel like I did. At least, when I listen back to this song, I can tell that I’m really feeling it. I also think that being an actor has allowed me to become comfortable in front of the camera, as well as speaking publicly. So I’m totally comfortable being the front man and the person selling the narrative from a PR standpoint.  

You are from Toronto. How would you describe this city? 

Toronto has always been home for me and I love this city dearly. One thing I love about Toronto is that it’s so incredibly multi-cultural. Everyone who visits here for the first time usually mentions that. It’s not unusual for me to step onto the subway and be the only white person, which is something that probably every white person should experience. I’ve heard people criticize Toronto by saying that we “lack our own identity” or we “lack culture” but I actually think that’s our strength. Our identity is EVERY identity. Our culture is EVERY culture. And thats a mentality that a lot of other places in the world could do well in adopting. 

How’s the music scene in Toronto? 

It might not appear this way on the surface, but the music scene in Toronto is always booming, it’s just a question of finding the hidden gems. There is so much live music going on in our city all the time, you can find every genre and every flavour everywhere you look. Sometimes it’s hard to sift through it all and discover new bands, because its so incredibly sprawling actually. 

What does music make you feel? 

Music makes me feel connected to the emotions I feel, to the people around me, to the memories I’ve made. It’s like a living breathing entity of emotion and nostalgia that shape shifts all the time. 

What defines you? 

That’s a tough one. I guess humour, fun, having a sense of openness, kindness hopefully, and buffalo chicken tenders. 

Any upcoming project? 

Yes. I plan to release more original music. I have a record coming out this year with the soul/pop band Gold Complex that I mentioned earlier. I am acting in a film called Clara that premieres at TIFF coming up next week and will then release in theatres. I’m a voice actor on a cartoon series called “Bakugan” that should come out sometime next year. I also have a feature film in development as a director and I’ve been writing a lot, so let’s hope one of these irons in the fire heats up very soon!

In your opinion, what would make the world a better place? 

More perspectives. Just all of them. All of the perspectives. 

What’s your purpose? 

I don’t really believe that each individual has a specific purpose. What I do know is that I love to entertain people so that’s what I’m going to keep doing until I expire. 

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