One night, Bobby Wills found himself at a bar in Australia watching a band perform.
That’s when his friend bet him $20 that he couldn’t go up on stage and sing with the band. Wills took that bet and couldn’t have imagined the outcome.
“The response was such that it felt like the right move,” he said. “People were into it and thought it was good and it made me think I should pursue this.”
When Wills, who was adopted, returned home from Australia he eventually met his biological parents and discovered that his love for music ran deeper than he thought.
“It turns out they were musicians and artisans all throughout the family,” he said.
It was then that Wills decided to pursue a full-time career as a country musician.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” he said. “I am really looking forward to getting out. I haven’t been to Nanaimo in many years and it is always a beautiful place.”
Wills was born in Edmonton and raised in Calgary by his adoptive parents.
He said that he had always known he was adopted and wanted to meet his biological parents.
“I think it is [being adopted] a very personal thing,” he said. “I think it is a personal journey and I just think you discover it as you go.”
Last June, Wills released his third record, Crazy Enough.
“I am really proud of it,” Wills said.
Wills explained that the record has more variety than his previous two albums Man with No Past, If It Was That Easy.
“I am a pretty country guy and because of that I get pegged in that traditional sound and so because of that we wanted to have fun with the production this time around and stretch and get a little grittier,” Wills said.
Since making music his career more than five years ago, Wills has made countless songwriting trips to Nashville and become an ambassador for the Adoption Council of Canada.
However, Wills, who touches on a variety of subjects in his lyrics, says he has yet to write a song about being adopted.
“I find writing about it hard and I am not sure why that is,” he said. “It is just one of those really difficult subjects to really convey properly and as a consequence I have never done it, but I will do it. It just hasn’t come quite right yet.”
The Alberta native says one of the reasons is that as a songwriter he wants to be able to write music that the majority of people can relate to.
“As a songwriter you want to write songs that are accessible to everybody and that they can put their own story into and that is what makes songs great and important to people,” he said. “But with the adoption subject there is just not enough of us out there for that to be accessible to most people and that is what makes it hard to write.”