Despite his own work being relatively recent, Will Heard has been on the scene for much longer than you may think. The extremely talented singer-songwriter made his name in the industry writing with the likes of KYGO, Anne-Marie, and Rudimental, the latter of which he toured with for a number of years. His own solo work has been years in the making, and after release his first EP Trust in 2017, he began working towards what is his debut album Wild.
The album begins with Come In, a staple introduction to his live shows as well as the LP. Its melancholic barber shop quartet appearance set up what’s to come beautifully, both compositionally and in terms of Will’s vocal abilities. Following song Flashlight bubbles with a lo-fi aesthetic at the start before exploding into a soulful harmony-led tune. The other singles, Wasteman and What Do You Do, and well as the gorgeous interlude Robert lead the album perfectly to the halfway point, where the first unheard tracks blossom. Bass led Phew flows along on a slightly off-kilter beat, while Hotter Than Sex shows off a softer side to Will’s songwriting, as well as his heavenly falsetto.
This Is Love starts with a flurry of gritty synths, reminiscent of alternative 80s tunes, before transitioning into a 90s-style R’n’B ballad. The angelic ebb and flow of the harmonies around the acoustic guitars and keyboards give the song a dreamy pacing, whilst also being a vehicle for Will’s dynamic vocal range. Stole My Heart takes on a similar vibe, but moves it in a more contemporary direction musically. Let It Ride concludes the album, along with the outdo Life Ends, leaving on a hopeful tone that combines all of the albums elements. The latter especially takes softly strummed acoustic guitar and Will’s harmonies and creates a beautiful, stripped back ending mirroring the intro.
Wild is a debut from an artist confident in their sound and abilities. Will Heard and his collaborators have manage to meld together Soul, R’n’B, and elements of Jazz into a pop-tinged record that certainly has more hits than misses. The back half of the record especially deserves as much attention as possible, with some of the stand out tracks being nestled within. A fantastic beginning for an amazing talent.
Writer and Musician, Ryan Bulbeck has been published with a number of online publications, and has worked with a myriad of great artists, both as a performer, and as a producer. His most recent band The 295 are still active, playing shows around the UK.