2021 might be a strange time to step into the music industry as a new artist, but 20-year-old South African newcomer Will Linley is certainly making the most of it. The songwriter and musician didn’t just quietly release his debut single, “miss me (when you’re gone)” into the ether last year – instead, he exploded into the social scene with the song, sharing it on TikTok and gaining over 4 million views before it was even officially out. And proving that it wasn’t just a fluke, he went on to receive millions of streams upon the song’s release on all platforms and is already gearing up to release more new music soon.
Raised in a musical household, Will studied classical singing in high school, but never imagined that his passion could translate into a career. In fact, before the pandemic hit, he was enrolled at university to study international business. It wasn’t until he found himself stuck at home that he began writing music as a way to cure boredom and isolation, and it was during that time that his massive debut single was born. Now, Will Linley is currently working on new music in Los Angeles, with plans to release his highly anticipated second single, “Wrong Time” (pre-save here) on March 23rd. We caught up with him ahead of the new track to talk about his upbringing with music, his success with “miss me (when you’re gone)”, and plans for the future.
Prelude Press: What first inspired you to get involved in music? Was there anyone in particular who influenced you when you were younger?
Will Linley: My first influence in music came from being raised in a household singing alongside my mom and brothers. I enjoyed listening to a lot of different music as a kid, but it was certainly South African artists like Jeremy Loops and Matthew Mole who really inspired me to chase after my music dreams as I grew older.
You got your foot in the door in the music industry in the midst of a global pandemic, which has been understandably challenging for musicians these past couple of years – what was that experience like?
It’s been really interesting, honestly. I’ve come into an industry that is changing rapidly every single day. It’s been difficult at times, but I’ve learned a lot and grown exponentially throughout this whole experience! It’s hard to predict anything in this industry, and it’s been challenging to weather that storm as a new artist from time to time! It can be scary but exciting to not know what the next two months may hold hahah! As things begin to open up, I’m really looking forward to playing more live shows and releasing new music very soon.
“My favourite thing about music is that a song can hold a different meaning for everyone that hears it. I want my listeners to feel like they can connect with my song in their own unique way.”
You also shared your debut single, “miss me (when you’re gone)” on TikTok before releasing it. Were you expecting it to blow up like it did? Has it been a bit of a surreal experience?
I WAS NOT EXPECTING IT AT ALL! I was trying not to get my hopes up too much, but the outcome has been such a surreal experience. Honestly, I cannot wrap my head around how well the song has performed. I feel incredibly grateful and would not be here without all the incredible friends and listeners who support me.
Can you tell us a little bit about “miss me (when you’re gone)”? What inspired the song?
The song is meant to articulate the loss/sadness from when someone you adore leaves your life and you miss the person you were around them.
What would you like for fans to take away from the song?
My favourite thing about music is that a song can hold a different meaning for everyone that hears it. I want my listeners to feel like they can connect with my song in their own unique way. I want the lyrics to resonate differently with everyone, as that speaks to differences in experiences we all have as individuals.
Now that it has been out for a few months and you’ve had some time to reflect on it, what are some of your favorite things about the song?
My favourite thing about the song is that it has allowed me to connect with a multitude of different people. Getting to see and meet the people that are listening to my music is truly the most incredible thing ever! Everyone’s support has given me the opportunity to chase after a childhood dream, and for that, I could not be more grateful for.
Could fans expect to hear some more new music soon?
OHHHH YES! “WRONG TIME” OUT MARCH 23RD!
Do you have any goals for the music that you’re working on now?
I would love to play a concert at Kirstenbosch Gardens in Cape Town one day!
Do you have any other big plans for the rest of 2022?
Writing and working on new music to share with all you incredible people! I hope to travel a bit more and meet some of my amazing listeners from around the world.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for having me! I hope everyone goes out and makes somebody’s day a little bit better today. The smallest gesture can have the biggest impact x
March 10 @ MASCOT (Los Angeles, CA) – Free via RSVP
March 15 @ Hotel Café (Los Angeles, CA) – 21+ – $10 via Here