An ex limo-riding crooner-songwriter.
Taken from the 10th Birthday Issue of Wonderland.
T-shirt by COACH and shirt and trousers MODEL’S OWN
“I’ll probably be the host of an open-mic show in my local pub,” smirks Willie J Healey when asked where he’ll be in ten year’s time. There’s something quite Shameless about the singer/songwriter’s small-town charm.
Riding around his native Oxford in a battered old limo, (“I tried to keep it going because everyone was like ‘Ah that’s so funny Willie, you’ve got a limo, you’re such a player’”), Healey spent his formative years dreaming of stadium gigs and compiling playlists of sci-fi movie theme-tunes. “Get me at Wembley please,” Healey remembers of his mock-tantrums. “Get me a monitor to put my foot up on when I solo. Grow my hair, get a beer gut, I’ll probably have an earring and four guitar techs!” He’s upgraded these days – he now lives, sleeps, sings and washes in the back of a fully- fledged touring van.
Healey’s debut EP release, the hypnotically titled “HD Malibu EP”, matches meandering slide guitars with wasteman crooning. Oh, and there are one or two made-for-TV film references on the lyric sleeve, too.
The title track sees Healey swoon after a Chevy Malibu convertible he saw in cult 80s comedy, Repo Man. When he thrillingly snarls the words “HD screens”, his gruff, climaxing vocals slicing through scuffed, swirling guitars, it’s akin to Deerhunter’s Brandon Cox on a meandering heroin comedown with Chris Isaak.
They’re sounds that shouldn’t really come out of the mouth of this babyfaced 20-year-old, but he’s sticking to what he knows for EP number two. “I guess my theme is TV dinner,” he quips as he departs an east London studio for, he assures us, his first ever surfing lesson. Believe it or not.
Willie J Healey’s latest track, “Dude Like Him” is out now.
Photographer: Leonn Ward
Fashion: Isabella Brunner
Words: Lily Walker