From busking in Middlesbrough to producing music in New York, Will Simpson has done it all. Lee Allcock caught up with him to talk about his adventure in the world of music, his recently released album, and how things are going in America.
You started your musical journey by busking for money in Middlesbrough and living on a gipsy site which sounds like quite a difficult start to life in the world of music. You’re now producing music in Brooklyn, New York. That’s some difference…
I had gone to get in touch with my Roma roots. The Roma have a bad reputation in the UK and Europe – it’s one of the last standing acceptable forms of racism. I was living there and commuting to Middlesbrough town centre to perform.
When you were living in Middlesbrough you also started a community music company called Music Saves the World. What was the aim of that project?
The project developed out of what I was seeing on the streets and what I was exposed to in my work at the youth centre. The original aim was to create a safe space for people to come along and immerse themselves in music – free from the push and drive of the outside.
And how are things going with the project in America?
I’m still sticking to the dream but I’m learning much more about the complexities of the world and how those social problems are created. America is a pretty big experiment that seems to be running itself into the ground. I’m working in schools trying to inspire the next generation of global citizens to take control of the world back from the hands of those old slave masters.
And you’ve just released your album, ‘Harmful Melodies’ with Death by Tertris. How do you find time for it all?
Time is all we have; it’s just a matter of taking it. (Laughing) That’s some good advice right there. We hear it all our lives. Take your time!
I met an 82-year-old Asian man recently who didn’t look a day over 60 and within the first half hour of talking to him he asked me what is the most important thing in life. I told him, people. He looked at me stern and said no! The answer is yourself! You look after yourself first and then you are able to be your best self at all times. This old man was a wise age! So I’m trying to work on that in a non-selfish kind of way.
And finally, how can those who have supported you in Middlesbrough keep up-to-date with what you’re doing in America?
I’m always interested in learning about what other people are doing to make the world a better place; the more of those people in the network the more strength we have for positive change. If you want to get in touch or learn more about my story check out musicsavestheworld.info – I would love to hear from you.
I’m also experimenting with blockchain technology. There are some cool technological innovations coming out these days for self-releasing musicians. The future is going to be so radically different. I’m excited. As I say, if you’re interested, reach out! I’ll be there.
To find out more about Will, and to keep up-to-date with his American adventure, please head to musicsavestheworld.info now. Please also head to the website if you’re interested in sharing your own personal story or if you’d like to help with Will’s project.