Will Joseph Cook aims to prove a point with his alternative pop

Will Joseph Cook plays The Hope & Ruin on Saturday, October 29 (8pm) as part of his first UK tour.
Will Joseph CookWill Joseph Cook
Will Joseph Cook

“It’s my first UK run of dates,” says the 19-year-old, “and it’s all very exciting. It’s just a question of finding the right time, though it is always difficult when your shows have been London-based. It is a good time now to start doing regional gigs, especially as I have got an album coming out next year, my debut album.

“It is looking like it is going to be the first few months next year that it will be out. The date isn’t set in stone. I have got a title for it, but it has not been announced yet.

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“Because it is the first album, there is a degree of backdating some songs. One of the songs is like a reworked version of something I wrote when I was 15, but I always like to think of an album being fresh and new. I don’t want to put on stuff that has been on EPs on the album.

“I left school a year and a half ago. I purposely didn’t study music at school. It was something that I just enjoyed doing in my own time. If I had followed it on the curriculum, it would have become a chore.

“I think it would be true to say that the music is alternative pop music. I quite like umbrella terms so that I am never boxed into a particular genre. I am touring with a live band. I write the stuff and do the arrangements, but it is a band on tour.”

And for Will it is important that he is the sole writer: “A lot of albums, especially for solo artists, are ridden with co-writes. I wanted to steer away from that, at least for now. I wanted to prove a point. If you are going to call yourself a songwriter, you need to show that you can do it by yourself.”

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As for content: “I guess I am singing about things that feel relevant to me. If there is something on your mind, a song is a good way to vent it. It covers lots of things. It is just thoughts and feelings on my life in general and my friends. I guess the songs are whatever you can feel genuinely about, but I am not restricting myself to my own experiences. If I see something I want to empathise with, then I will include it in a song.”

Will recognises it is vital to make that first album count: “Most importantly, it is about good songs. I am trying to boil it down to a highly-concentrated batch of songs. I don’t want it to be a long album…”

In a little over a year, Will has released two EPs to widespread acclaim and has amassed well over nine million streams worldwide.

His last single ‘Girls Like Me’ featured a tongue-in-cheek video, seeing Will going speed-dating with various versions of himself, dressed in drag. The track was immediately added to the In New Music We Trust playlist on Radio 1, gaining more than 20 plays, with support from the likes of Annie Mac, Clara Amfo and Greg James.

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