Sound Of The Week: Willing

Willing has his eyes cast on the future in this expansive opus about the desecration of dreams in the face of cosmopolitan annihilation. The new album Unreal City is maximalist power-pop that is cinematic in scope and utterly romantic in conceit. ‘At its heart, it’s a songwriter’s album,’ states Willing. ‘Expansive, outrageous, and deeply felt, it finds influence in the world of queercore pop-rock. Think Ssion, the Drums, Christine and the Queens, Perfume Genius, King Princess, and sometimes even Springsteen.’ Its production is eclectic, traversing genres while being firmly grounded in a club-rock idiom. Lyrically, the work deals in monomyth: a bildungsroman of an ageing twink, looking back in love.

Willing is a recording artist with a theatrical bent. In anticipation of the January release, he staged the whole album as a piece of performance art at Melbourne’s Meat Market, with a full live band, contemporary dancers, and digital projection art by Sam Hains. Other theatrical successes include his play Alibi, a magic realist gay fantasia about chemsex and revolution, which graced both TheatreWorks and Redline at the Old Fitz’s 2021 Seasons (‘A tour-de-force of writing and performance’ – The Australian), and The Gathering (**** The Age) which played the New York Music Theatre Festival starring MJ Rodriguez followed by a highly accoladed hometown season at fortyfivedownstairs.

Willing has already released two EPs, Pure Romance, which Culture Fix UK labelled ‘an eclectic slice of queer pop heaven’ and Small Cruelties. Described by Subvrt Mag as ‘vibrantly saucy’ he is now, according to Wickedd Childd, ‘getting ready to take over the world’. Career highlights include mainstage appearances at Gaytimes Fest and Midsumma, and being a finalist in the Hot Vox Isle of Wight competition. He also recently produced all the music for The Wilds at Rising, a takeover of Sidney Myer Music Bowl attended by hundreds of thousands of people.

Feature photo by Hector Clarke