Chris Wills witnessed his world crumbling down around him. “Everything in my life suddenly changed for the seemingly worse,” he says. The LA transplant noticed a significant shift in his “perception of the world around me. Even though this old perception was partially based in illusion, I prefered it and wished it could go back to how it used to be.
“Of course, I knew this was impossible. I knew that I must move forward and that breaking down these illusions was actually a good thing. It’ll make it so I can rebuild from a stronger foundation and live a much fuller, richer, and clearer life experience,” he tells American Songwriter. “But I wasn’t quite ready for this yet.”
His song “The Weekend,” co-written with Louie Diller, burns wild and hot with percussion before erupting into a confetti burst of sound. As ferociously effervescent as it is, musically, the lyrics sink into this mental and emotional water. “This song is one last moment of wishful thinking and self comfort before taking that first step,” he says. “It’s about navigating a challenging shift in perspective within yourself, a time, a place, and a significant other. It’s one last anthemic bask in the past before moving forward into a truer, stronger present and reality.”
Originally from Union County, New Jersey, Wills gravitated toward such classic films as The Blues Brothers and artists like Ray Charles and The Rolling Stones (notably their hits “Tumbling Dice” and “Sweet Virginia”)─all centerpieces to his early fascination with music. Now a relic, a walkman he once found and “used to listen to under my covers at night when I was supposed to be sleeping” ignited that creative flame, as well, along with the early days of MTV music videos and studiously pouring over the songwriters and lyrics to Aretha Franklin and Temptations songs. “My dad was also encouraging of me writing songs when I was growing up. He sometimes shares little poems with me.”
Wills has only been releasing music over the last year or so, beginning with “Pyro” and “L.A. on My Mind.” Across a self-titled EP, as well as a forthcoming release, he has a knack for lyrics that stick to the brain, using Bruce Springsteen, George Harrison, John Prine, Guy Clark, Jade Bird, and Weezer, among others, as creative touchpoints.
“Songwriting provides my life with unbounded joy, meaning, and purpose. It makes everything feel like it’s worth it. It makes me feel like I can get through anything and everything because I know music is always there,” he says. “It stimulates and challenges me; it’s how I sort out my emotions, feelings, and perceptions in ways that words alone cannot. It challenges me to go deep inside and forces me to see all kinds of things I otherwise may never see and therefore, would miss the opportunity to grow.
“It makes me lighter and increases my capacity to give and receive love. It makes life and reality sparkle, shine, and glow. The mountains come to life’ the palm trees sway; it brings inner peace and calmness to my being,” he continues. “It makes it so I can’t wait to wake up in the morning and sends chills through my body. I’ve met so many amazing people and met some of my closest friends through music. It’s one of my favorite things about being alive along with my family, friends, and good food! I think it physically and chemically uplifts our minds, bodies and spirits into a healthier state. It’s remarkable.”
“The Weekend” primes a forthcoming EP, which centers around “growth, change, and self reflection,” he teases. “The rest of the [project] takes you along this journey including all the various stages and ups and downs of this growth and change and ultimately brings you closer to the things that matter most to you in your life.”
Listen to “The Weekend” below.