News Column

There was my name on the same bill as The Stones'

August 23, 2013

YellowBrix

Sixteen-year-old Will Joseph Cook has a few of his songs up on YouTube. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. This summer he played at the Secret Garden Party Festival and at Camp Bestival.

And did we mention that he supported Tom Odell at a series of his gigs - just after he won the critics' choice award at the Brits - and a little matter of supporting The Rolling Stones at Hyde Park? It's almost too much to take in but Tunbridge Wells resident Will isn't letting it go to his head.

I've never really seen what the interest in me was, he laughs.

But interested in him is exactly what radio DJ Emma B became, back when he was just 14 years-old. She'd been running her Table Talks events at The Bell in Ticehurst and the mum of one of Will's friends, who works there, showed her a YouTube clip of Will singing.

Since then she's been 'keeping an eye' on Will and helping him to get gigs that have included last year's Local & Live Festival.

But we really started taking it seriously in November, says Will, when I got my band together. I was getting old enough to spend a decent amount of time on it.

Describing his style as being based on 'the stuff I grew up listening to' and being very much focused on the songwriting, Will says his biggest influence has been the band Eels.

They've done so many albums that they've literally been the soundtrack of me growing up. They're where my lyrical inspiration comes from.

I really started getting into music when I was about 12 and I got into soul music, so people like Otis Reading and Marvin Gaye. It's quite different from Eels but I'd say I'm not really genre prejudiced. I just think there's good music and bad music.

The music that I make now has quite a soul vibe but also takes inspiration from good indie rock bands.

Will writes everything himself, on guitar, having pretty much taught himself from watching clips on the internet. He's currently teaching himself piano.

Audiences This weekend Will is playing as part of Paul Dunton's Local & Live Fundraisers at The Forum. It's a good venue and one that any 16-year-old musician would be happy to play, but this summer saw Will perform in front of audiences thousands strong.

He played small slots at the Secret Garden Party Festival and at Camp Bestival, but what's all this about The Rolling Stones? I was on a school trip in America and my brother sent me the picture of the poster for the Hyde Park gig, saying 'look how good the line-up for this is, we should go'. And then I read it closer and saw my name on the bill!

That was the first festival we found out we were playing and it was right there on the poster. It was just a really surreal moment.

The band had been chosen by bookers who'd noticed Will supporting Tom Odell earlier in the year. So, whether he understands it or not, there clearly a lot of interest in young Will.

He plays The Forum on Monday 26 at 9pm. Tickets Pounds 6 on the door or Pounds 5 in advance from www.twforum.co.uk

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