Nashville based songwriter Mike Willis has developed a regional following by playing his intensely heartfelt music. Originally from Atlanta, the singer songwriter returns to his roots this Friday at Eddie’s Attic for the annual Christmas Hangover Throw-Down Spectacular.
Interview by Andrew Chatwood of Eddie’s Attic.
What’s the first gig you ever attended?
I am proud to admit that the first live music show I ever attended was New Kids on the Block at the Georgia Tech Stadium. My mom surprised me and my sister with last second tickets. In particular, I remember that this girl was standing on her chair in front of me screaming like a crazy person and openly proclaiming her undying love for the youngest of the crew, Joey McIntyre. I found this intriguing and amusing, perhaps even more so than the concert itself.
What is the best gig that you ever performed?
I’m not sure I can pinpoint a “favorite” show. At Eddies, I’ve been blessed to play with some of the folks that inspired me as a young music lover, like Shawn Mullins, John Mayer, Jennifer Nettles and more. I’ve toured the country and the world playing everything from a Woodstock-type festival in Inner Mongolia to a quiet country pub in the South East of England to an opening set at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, and almost every show finds a way to stand out. Some shows are great because of the energy of lots of people in the room and others are great because of the deep connection you can make with just a few individuals in the room.
What is the best gig you have ever seen?
New Kids… just kidding. I happened upon a band called Ozomatli at the Ying Yang Club in Atlanta. They were just passing through town and the local band, LOA were cancelled to make way for Ozo. My buddies and I were die-hard LOA fans and were vocally annoyed that this was happening. Well, our annoyance lasted all of 10 minutes because the moment this band started to play, the whole place went absolutely crazy.
Gig you would most like to play?
I don’t know if I can answer this. Shows shouldn’t carry with them expectations in my experience. Inevitably the ones for which you carry the highest hopes, will let you down, and the ones that seem like they’re going to be a drag, find a way to blow your mind. I just try to come ready to accept whatever the Universe provides.
What is the strangest thing a fan has done for you or at your show?
Well I wouldn’t call it strange, but I just recently had a couple from Atlanta fly in to see me play in Key West. I recognized them, but couldn’t wrap my head around why they were in Key West.
What is the funniest moment you have had as an artist?
Most of these are confidential. =)
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Not really. I’m boring.
If you could describe your music in one word, what would it be?
How do you connect with a crowd?
I try to connect with the individuals in the crowd. At my level, playing mostly smaller and mid-sized venues, I’ve found that easy to do. People generally want the people they’re watching perform to be good and inspiring. If I make the smallest effort to give to them, usually they’ll return the favor.
How did you decide on your band name?
My parents did that.
What is the best way to write music?
There is no “best” way. You just create naturally and if you’re being honest with yourself and your audience, music/art happens.
Get your tickets today to see Mike Willis perform at Eddie’s Attic, this Friday, December 27th!