Whatchu’ Talkin’ Bout, Willis? Daphne Willis, That Is

9 03 2009


Daphne Willis is a mellow 21 year old songstress who calls Chicago home. She is the front woman of the blossoming Daphne Willis and Company. She took some time out of her busy schedule that includes a stop with the Indigo Girls at SXSW at the end of March, to chat with some of her biggest fans, Earbudz. Her music is catchy and comfortable, much like her personality. A talented musician and songwriter, she has been surrounded by some pretty fantastic band mates and most recently world renowned producers. We wish her nothing but success!!!

EB: Your e.p. is totally accessible and fun. When can we expect a full album or is the concept of album waning?
DW:Thank you! The album is almost done. Over the past couple of months I’ve been back and forth from Nashville working on last minute touches and additional overdubs. All that’s left is the mastering. There are a couple different options that are being discussed between my own management and Vanguard ( her record label) as far as a release date goes, but we are currently not confirming anything. I wish I could say more. I went a couple different directions as far as feel and vibe go with several tracks. I’m eager to get the material out, but I’m also a patient person and making sure we have solid plans for the release is crucial right now πŸ™‚

EB: I know you are laid back, was it intimidating working with someone like Gary Paczosa (who has produced the likes of Dolly Parton, the Dixie Chicks, Allison Krause)?
DW: Absolutely. Gary is an amazing person to work with. The tenacity with which he works can be overwhelming, but after you have worked with him a time or two, you can get into a groove. It’s fantastic. Mixing tracks is probably one of the most intense things in terms of recording (for me anyways). I love it though. I can remember a couple days when we were at it for twelve or more hours pretty much non-stop. Gary is a busy guy so when you’ve got his time, you want to utilize it as much as possible. I feel so lucky that he was interested in contributing creatively to this project. He really is the reason that a lot of doors have opened for me in this past year. I’m grateful.

EB: Who are you major influences?
DW: I was raised listening to everything from Stevie Wonder to Elvis Costello to Allison Krauss to Ella Fitzgerald. It’s hard for me to pinpoint my exact influences because there are so many fazes I go through in terms of what I’m listening to when I write certain material. I’ll go a month jammin’ out to Motown tunes and then sit down to write and something with a little more upbeat funk will come out. Or I’ll be listening to something more mellow, like Ray Lamontagne or Norah Jones and my writing will reflect that. I’d have to say though, that my major influences are not the artists that I listen to, they are the people in my life that affect my mood and help to create the experiences that I often reflect upon in my lyrics. Half the time I’m not even thinking about the music, I’m just releasing energy or venting.

EB: You are often compared to jack Johnson. As an artist that is carving out her own niche, how does that make you feel?
DW:It’s flattering. Describing sound is much like describing anything else. Comparison is often the easiest way to describe something so that people can get an idea or gist. Maybe one day someone else will be compared to me.

EB: This is a crucial question πŸ™‚ Who do you have on your favorite playlist right now?
DW: Alice Russell, Jamie Cullum, Lily Allen, Amos Lee, Ben Harper, Stevie Wonder, Mika, Ben Folds… to name a few πŸ™‚ It’s always changing though, next week it’ll be a completely different list.

EB: You seem to tour constantly. Where is your favorite crowd and venue?
DW: As much as I’m out on the road, I love me some Chicago rooms πŸ™‚ I love Schuba’s and I love Martyrs’. As far as out of town rooms go, I would have to say that my favorite town/venue is up in Marquette Michigan. There’s a place called Up Front and Co. and it’s just a fantastic place to play.

EB:Does touring play a role in your songwriting process?
DW:Absolutely. Interacting with people is key for me. I’m a very social person, so meeting new people and going new places keeps my perspective fresh. The more I put myself out there, the more I feel the ability to talk about it with a deeper level of understanding. Thus, I feel more able to connect with people.

EB: What is your dream gig?
DW: I think I would just die if I ever played the Chicago Theatre. I would just die.

Thanks again!!! Show Austin how to rock!!

You can check Daphne Willis out here.

Posted by Cooper




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