Tampa troubadour Will Erickson has a lot on his plate these days.
He tirelessly performs his own brand of folksy barroom tales most nights of the week. This Saturday, he will open for Sister Hazel. Throughout March, he'll be opening for Canadian roots-rock act Current Swell on their Florida dates. In March, he'll be performing during the South By Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas. In the midst of his busy schedule, he still somehow finds time to record his third album, Two For One.
Will sat down with us for a Q&A session on a sunny Sunday afternoon:
What type of music do you perform?
It's Americana. I'm definitely a crossover artist. There's hints of country, Southern rock, I've even written some reggae tunes. I just love music. My playlist is anything from Hank Williams to Rebelution to the Counting Crows to Stone Temple Pilots. … I listen to everything; I even love classical music. I really enjoy music. I never tried to be a specific genre, just whatever I felt like; that's the way I write and play. So if I'm feelin' a certain way, it may end up having this reggae vibe to it, or if I'm feelin' a certain way it may sound country or it may sound like a mainstream rock 'n' roll song. I don't care, let somebody else give me a genre. (laughs)
How would you categorize your vocals?
Ah, wow, that's a tough one. People tell me I sound like David Gray sometimes. Everything I say and everything I sing is gonna have a little bit of a Southern accent in it. ... I just try to be myself, I really don't know exactly what you could call my voice. People tell me, "We like your voice cause it's very odd, but unique," and that's a cool compliment. They tell me that my voice stands out.
What do you find to be your biggest challenge?
Getting people to know who the hell I am. (laughs) It's a lot harder now than what it was a even few years ago because you could have a good product, but if you don't market yourself well nobody's gonna know who you are. So we're really workin' hard on that.
What are you hoping to gain from SXSW?
First of all, SXSW is a big deal. I want to be like a sponge out there. I just wanna take everything all in. I wanna just see what it all has to offer and how it can help me. I've been to a few different music conferences before and I've not gotten a lot out of it. I went to one and it was called, "What a Music Label Can Do For You," and the guy steps up there and he looks like he had been drinkin' all night into the day. He says, "There's not anything that a label can do for you that you can't do for yourself with a little hard work and dedication. And with that I'll open up the floor for questions." (laughs) I just wanna make some connections at SXSW. … Either with an agency or even a smaller label that will open up some communication. … That would be a successful trip.
What sets you apart from other solo acoustic acts?
I think my songwriting and my voice. It's different. It's not like what everybody else is trying to do. It seems like people are always trying to be the newest thing. I see a lot of artists trying to be the Lumineers and Mumford and Sons. That's great and all and it's cool for whatever it is right now, but a year from now or so, what are you gonna be then?
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I wanna still be playing music. If I'm still playing music on any level, I'm gonna be really happy. Of course, I'm workin' for something bigger, but if I never achieve it, it will be okay because I know that I gave everything I had to it. That's not failure to me.