Posted On 30 May 2017
Interscope Records recently signed Canadian singer, songwriter, and musician Billy Raffoul! His debut single, “Driver” was released on May 5th.
The anthemic “Driver” is a potent calling card for 22-year-old Raffoul, who hails from Leamington, Ontario, and is the son of musician Jody Raffoul.
Billy’s signature sound is a rough-hewn, low-timbered rock and roll that nods to the likes of Jeff Buckley, Neil Young, and Joe Cocker, and is powered by Raffoul’s gravelly, soulful voice and deeply felt lyrics. “Driver” was inspired by his family picking up a hitchhiker one night after Raffoul and his dad played a gig on Pelee Island in the middle of Lake Erie.
“This guy was really out of it, so he ended up staying with us for a few hours,” Raffoul says. The following weekend Raffoul told his story of the hitchhiker to songwriter Simon Wilcox and songwriter-producer Nolan Lambroza during a writing session in Los Angeles. “We turned it into something a little more sentimental, in that maybe I’m not singing about someone being lost on the side of the road, but maybe someone lost in life who doesn’t know where they’re going or what they’re supposed to be doing,” he explains.
Raffoul now splits his time between Nashville and Leamington where, in between playing shows, he is hard at work on his debut album for Interscope Records.
Raffoul will perform at British Summer Time in London’s Hyde Park opening for Kings of Leon, Pixies, and Nathaniel Rateliff on July 6th. Tickets are available HERE.
Connect With Billy Raffoul Here:
Learn more about Billy Raffoul in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! So where does this interview find you today? Is there music playing in the background? If so, what is it?
Thanks for taking the time to ask the questions! If I’m being honest the end credits of “Spider-Man” are rolling in the background and Chad Kroeger is singing about a Hero that could save us. It’s really nostalgic for me.
How is 2017 treating you so far? Did you approach the start of this year any differently then you did last year?
2017 has been a lot fun thus far. I didn’t approach it any differently but it’s nice to begin to release something I’ve been working on for years.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your first musical memory? Could you see yourself doing anything else today? If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?
I didn’t always know I wanted to be musician. I was 14 and side stage at one of my father’s shows on the football field of Cardinal Carter Secondary school (where I would attend high school the following September). It was that night that I remember telling myself that I wanted to do this for real.
I’m curious to know how your music has been influenced by living in both Canada and Nashville these days?
To be honest, I’ve spent the majority of the making of this record in Los Angeles. What has influenced it is the constant travel. Between LA, Nashville, and Leamington, ON. It hasn’t necessarily affected the sound of the record but has given me plenty more experiences to write about.
Let’s talk about your recently released single, “Driver.” Where did the inspiration for it come from? How will it compare to the rest of your forthcoming album? When do you hope to release it?
Quite literally ’Driver’ was inspired by an encounter with a hitchhiker on a Saturday night in mid-July of last summer on Pelee Island. A ninety-minute ferry ride off the shore of the town I grew up in (Leamington, ON). The album (Which we are getting really close to being finished with) will be quite dynamic. It has bigger and louder productions like Driver on one end and completely live acoustic performances on the other. At its core it is a rock n roll album.
How did it feel when you first learned that you would be signing with Interscope Records? Why do you think this is the right label for you and your music today?
It was a pretty surreal feeling. Something I had been working towards. Interscope is the right place for me because for the past two years they have totally believed in me and the sound I wanted to create. Part of the reason why it has been a lengthy lead up to the album is because I wanted to write every song and they were totally behind that. It has been a true A & R process.
What artists have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
I listen to so much music, both old and new. There is so much great music out there that inspires me. I don’t know if I could narrow it down. I always find inspiration in my father and his band whenever I go home to Southern Ontario and watch them perform.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music? What do you hope is the message of your songs?
All these songs are stories or things that I’ve experienced. My hope is that they remind people who listen to them of their own stories and experiences. I hope they find their own meaning in the songs.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
Just that I am really looking forward to releasing the music and hitting the road the second half of this year! We’ll be in London at Hyde Parks British Summer Time Festival on July 6th.
Thanks for taking the time!