Ask Will Champlin, keyboardist.vocalist, where he gets his inspiration, and he will answer, “In the blood.” That may not be too far from the truth; his mother is an accomplished vocalist and singer-songwriter, and his father the lead vocalist for one of the most popular American rock bands of all time.
With a background like that, it may not come as a surprise that music was a defining element in his upbringing. When he wasn’t on the road with his parents (tours that often took him as far as Japan and Sweden) he was playing along to Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix when he was eight years old. By the time he attended Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music in 2001, he had begun to develop a reputation as both a prolific and mature songwriter, and, eased along by partnerships with a number of Grammy Award-winning writers, his distinct sound had begun to take shape.
One listen to “Shout It Out” or “Freak Street,” two of the tracks on his upcoming release, reveals a myriad of distinct influences embedded within the funky R&B-spiked pop songs. Momentary shades of Stevie Wonder, Jamiroquai, Michael Jackson, and Prince rise through the rock tunes one after another, firmly anchoring the verses and choruses to the soul roots the band returns to time and time again.
Fortified by the addition of a five-piece backup band, Will Champlin is building a name for himself with a live show of surprising maturity. Infectious melodies and funky guitar are pushed along by a powerful rock bottom end. Over it all, Champlin’s voice calls out the words with an edge expressive beyond his years.
Impressive in delivery and big on soul, the Will Champlin Band is keen on connecting to fans through songs about love and loss, lust and desire. Says Champlin, “Those songs seem to touch people more. Because they’re true.”