The indie-pop roots sound of Elliott Willis dropped into my inbox, with the confident 17-year-old working as his own marketing agent. The ever-so-soulful lyrics from his first release, Miles, had my heart fluttering from the thought-provoking lyrics and relaxed melody, which no doubt leaves anyone who listens with goose bumps in response to the raw and true emotion. Photographs of Elliott accompanying the press release showed a youthful appearance and carefree attitude.
I was already impressed, and then our interview brought to light the maturity, drive, and down-to earth nature of the charismatic English-born teen. Having moved from the UK at 10, the Mornington Peninsula-based singer-songwriter labels Vance Joy, Dean Lewis and Ziggy Alberts as his influences. Elliott began playing music with a toy keyboard he received for his fourth birthday but didn’t feel it was the right instrument for him. He then discovered the guitar from watching his older half-brother Sam play, so he followed through with lessons at seven. These continued until last year, when he chose to learn how to sing and enrolled at Coach Music Academy in Frankston. This was truly where his music journey began to kick off.
“I’ve been singing alone in my bedroom from age 14, yet the nerves while singing in front of others got to me,” said Elliott. “Both the academy and my singing teacher, Taylor Piggott, have pushed me and supported me. They’ve helped me get over my nerves, always pushed me to write my own music and supported me to be the best artist that I possibly can be. Taylor wanted me to write and record a song and get it into Triple J Unearthed – and I did.”
Elliott set a goal that Miles would reach 500 listens by the end of its first week of release. As an unknown artist, he thought this was a realistic ambition. Well, it hit 500 listens in 24 hours and then 1000 listens in just a few days. The stats speak for themselves. It’s a song that speaks from the heart.
“I find that in today’s society there’s a lot of pressure on you to be a person which others want you to be and not necessarily who you want to be. This is something I’ve struggled with since I moved to Australia, as fitting into the Australian culture can be hard and showing people the real me was difficult.”
While the COVID-19 crisis has sidelined his plans to perform, Elliott’s exploring options online to continue making traction and getting his name out there. “I play music because I enjoy it; it’s a creative outlet for me. I like to jam and play with others. I do it for the enjoyment or to get away from a bad day. My end goal is to have people enjoy my music. Obviously, I want what any musician’s end goal is – to make it to the big time. But as long as there are people out there listening to my music who genuinely like the sound, lyrics and myself, then that’s great. It’s great to have support.”
For more, stop by @elliottwillismusic on Facebook and @elliottwillisss on Instagram. Miles can be streamed on Triple J Unearthed, Spotify, Deezer, iTunes and Amazon Music.