Willis Earl Beal

Top Albums by Willis Earl Beal



All downloads by Willis Earl Beal
Sort by:
Bestselling
1-10 of 47
Song Title Album  
30
30
30
30
30
30
30
30
30
30

Image of Willis Earl Beal
Provided by the artist or their representative

Biography

"I want to be a shadow, not the man casting it."

It's a strange comment given the life Willis Earl Beal has lived since the release of his debut album, Acousmatic Sorcery, last year. He's traveled the world, performed to thousands of fans on stages and televisions shows and sat through countless interviews with major broadsheets. It would appear that Beal's light is shining bright, but Beal is a paradox. He's never been one to care about reality or its implications. Instead, he's a self-styled sorcerer that wills a surreality of his own.

A true outsider ("I've never fit in anywhere. And ... Read more

"I want to be a shadow, not the man casting it."

It's a strange comment given the life Willis Earl Beal has lived since the release of his debut album, Acousmatic Sorcery, last year. He's traveled the world, performed to thousands of fans on stages and televisions shows and sat through countless interviews with major broadsheets. It would appear that Beal's light is shining bright, but Beal is a paradox. He's never been one to care about reality or its implications. Instead, he's a self-styled sorcerer that wills a surreality of his own.

A true outsider ("I've never fit in anywhere. And I've been everywhere," he admits), Beal entered our world on a wave of intrigue due to his unbelievable story. Born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, he made his way across America in search of the desert, eventually reaching Albuquerque, New Mexico. Desperately alone and sleeping rough, he kept himself company by singing late into the night. He eventually found work
and got a place of his own where he set-up a cheap karaoke machine to record the thoughts, sketches and raw soundscapes that would become his debut album. As he traveled back to Chicago, he left CD-Rs of his music along the way (and also found time to audition for Simon Cowell's The X
Factor), adding to Acousmatic Sorcery's reputation as a no-fi field
recording.

While Beal recognizes Acousmatic Sorcery's value, he always wanted to make an album as grandiose as the one that's been living in his imagination. Recorded "everywhere and nowhere", Nobody knows. is that album. Commenting on the process, Beal says, "It started a long time ago. It essentially took 29 years to accumulate the experience and the emotion I put into this
record."

Produced by Beal under the guise of "Nobody", Nobody knows. features 13 songs that combine Beal's soul baring vocals with sounds and arrangements rooted in everything from orchestral blues to ambient r&b, gentle lullabies to pure cacophony. Along with producer Rodaidh McDonald (King Krule, Savages, The xx, etc.) and local Chicago engineer Matt DeWine, Beal layered and looped his vocals with simple piano and guitar melodies,
before adding garbage cans and toy electronics in re-imagined ways.

Nobody knows. also represents Beal's first foray into collaboration, most notably on a duet with Cat Power and contributions by TV On The Radio percussionist Japhet Negast Landis and violinist Ray Suen, a session musician with The Killers.

While Nobody knows.' heartfelt ballads, bluesy stompers and maddening dirges convey a range of emotions, you only have to work back from the album title to see there's something larger at play. Nobody knows. is a soundtrack to Beal's Nobody ideology - an image he has tattooed on his arm and an image he has worn across his chest during every live performance.
Embracing uncertainty and detachment, Beal has long maintained that, "I am nothing. Nothing is everything." It may sound bleak and fatalist but Beal's mantra is both affirming and aspirational, rooted in a contempt for what he deems to be wrongly prized in society. It's more than a valuing of the shadow over the spotlight, and the self over the icon. Instead, Beal says it's, "A spiritual odyssey", a plea of sorts to live in the frightening limbo of absolute freedom.

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

"I want to be a shadow, not the man casting it."

It's a strange comment given the life Willis Earl Beal has lived since the release of his debut album, Acousmatic Sorcery, last year. He's traveled the world, performed to thousands of fans on stages and televisions shows and sat through countless interviews with major broadsheets. It would appear that Beal's light is shining bright, but Beal is a paradox. He's never been one to care about reality or its implications. Instead, he's a self-styled sorcerer that wills a surreality of his own.

A true outsider ("I've never fit in anywhere. And I've been everywhere," he admits), Beal entered our world on a wave of intrigue due to his unbelievable story. Born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, he made his way across America in search of the desert, eventually reaching Albuquerque, New Mexico. Desperately alone and sleeping rough, he kept himself company by singing late into the night. He eventually found work
and got a place of his own where he set-up a cheap karaoke machine to record the thoughts, sketches and raw soundscapes that would become his debut album. As he traveled back to Chicago, he left CD-Rs of his music along the way (and also found time to audition for Simon Cowell's The X
Factor), adding to Acousmatic Sorcery's reputation as a no-fi field
recording.

While Beal recognizes Acousmatic Sorcery's value, he always wanted to make an album as grandiose as the one that's been living in his imagination. Recorded "everywhere and nowhere", Nobody knows. is that album. Commenting on the process, Beal says, "It started a long time ago. It essentially took 29 years to accumulate the experience and the emotion I put into this
record."

Produced by Beal under the guise of "Nobody", Nobody knows. features 13 songs that combine Beal's soul baring vocals with sounds and arrangements rooted in everything from orchestral blues to ambient r&b, gentle lullabies to pure cacophony. Along with producer Rodaidh McDonald (King Krule, Savages, The xx, etc.) and local Chicago engineer Matt DeWine, Beal layered and looped his vocals with simple piano and guitar melodies,
before adding garbage cans and toy electronics in re-imagined ways.

Nobody knows. also represents Beal's first foray into collaboration, most notably on a duet with Cat Power and contributions by TV On The Radio percussionist Japhet Negast Landis and violinist Ray Suen, a session musician with The Killers.

While Nobody knows.' heartfelt ballads, bluesy stompers and maddening dirges convey a range of emotions, you only have to work back from the album title to see there's something larger at play. Nobody knows. is a soundtrack to Beal's Nobody ideology - an image he has tattooed on his arm and an image he has worn across his chest during every live performance.
Embracing uncertainty and detachment, Beal has long maintained that, "I am nothing. Nothing is everything." It may sound bleak and fatalist but Beal's mantra is both affirming and aspirational, rooted in a contempt for what he deems to be wrongly prized in society. It's more than a valuing of the shadow over the spotlight, and the self over the icon. Instead, Beal says it's, "A spiritual odyssey", a plea of sorts to live in the frightening limbo of absolute freedom.

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

"I want to be a shadow, not the man casting it."

It's a strange comment given the life Willis Earl Beal has lived since the release of his debut album, Acousmatic Sorcery, last year. He's traveled the world, performed to thousands of fans on stages and televisions shows and sat through countless interviews with major broadsheets. It would appear that Beal's light is shining bright, but Beal is a paradox. He's never been one to care about reality or its implications. Instead, he's a self-styled sorcerer that wills a surreality of his own.

A true outsider ("I've never fit in anywhere. And I've been everywhere," he admits), Beal entered our world on a wave of intrigue due to his unbelievable story. Born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, he made his way across America in search of the desert, eventually reaching Albuquerque, New Mexico. Desperately alone and sleeping rough, he kept himself company by singing late into the night. He eventually found work
and got a place of his own where he set-up a cheap karaoke machine to record the thoughts, sketches and raw soundscapes that would become his debut album. As he traveled back to Chicago, he left CD-Rs of his music along the way (and also found time to audition for Simon Cowell's The X
Factor), adding to Acousmatic Sorcery's reputation as a no-fi field
recording.

While Beal recognizes Acousmatic Sorcery's value, he always wanted to make an album as grandiose as the one that's been living in his imagination. Recorded "everywhere and nowhere", Nobody knows. is that album. Commenting on the process, Beal says, "It started a long time ago. It essentially took 29 years to accumulate the experience and the emotion I put into this
record."

Produced by Beal under the guise of "Nobody", Nobody knows. features 13 songs that combine Beal's soul baring vocals with sounds and arrangements rooted in everything from orchestral blues to ambient r&b, gentle lullabies to pure cacophony. Along with producer Rodaidh McDonald (King Krule, Savages, The xx, etc.) and local Chicago engineer Matt DeWine, Beal layered and looped his vocals with simple piano and guitar melodies,
before adding garbage cans and toy electronics in re-imagined ways.

Nobody knows. also represents Beal's first foray into collaboration, most notably on a duet with Cat Power and contributions by TV On The Radio percussionist Japhet Negast Landis and violinist Ray Suen, a session musician with The Killers.

While Nobody knows.' heartfelt ballads, bluesy stompers and maddening dirges convey a range of emotions, you only have to work back from the album title to see there's something larger at play. Nobody knows. is a soundtrack to Beal's Nobody ideology - an image he has tattooed on his arm and an image he has worn across his chest during every live performance.
Embracing uncertainty and detachment, Beal has long maintained that, "I am nothing. Nothing is everything." It may sound bleak and fatalist but Beal's mantra is both affirming and aspirational, rooted in a contempt for what he deems to be wrongly prized in society. It's more than a valuing of the shadow over the spotlight, and the self over the icon. Instead, Beal says it's, "A spiritual odyssey", a plea of sorts to live in the frightening limbo of absolute freedom.

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

Improve This Page

If you’re the artist, management or record label, you can update your biography, photos, videos and more at Artist Central.

Get started at Artist Central

Feedback

Check out our Artist Stores FAQ
Send us feedback about this page