One thing I’ve always loved about the local live music scene is the constant flood of upcoming musicians. This city is full of raw talent and when ACL comes to town, that only multiplies. It’s a time to discover someone new that writes lyrics that immediately take you on a journey. Someone you’d wished you’d known about longer simply so you could come as a fan knowing every word of every song they performed. While we’ve been surrounded by an amazing lineup of artists that are new to us, one really caught our attention. We’ve got our eyes on Billy Raffoul.
It all started with a little email, one that pointed out that a guy who had been touring with NEEDTOBREATHE would be at the Austin City Limits Festival. That’s all it took for us to start researching Billy’s music career. Who was he? What fueled him? We had to know because NEEDTOBREATHE’s “Hard Love” is on repeat in our office and surely anyone who would tour with them had to be incredible. Billy did not disappoint.
I think I played his both his singles “Driver” and “Dark Four Door” about 100 times in a row. Billy has a unique voice that is oddly soothing and mixed with the music that accompanies it, you’re sure to find yourself hooked before you know it. We approached the American Express stage just a few minutes late. I could hear Billy’s voice across the field and I remember thinking, please don’t play “Driver” yet until I get there. I made it in plenty of time to both that song and “Dark Four Door” in a 3-part harmony that sent chills down my spine. I couldn’t wait to meet this man that had so much talent with his full future ahead of him.
Billy currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee and had been for a few years. He’s originally from Ontario. Billy has been to Austin before for SXSW but this time he stopped to have some good ole’ Texas bar-b-que at Cooper’s, although he was overwhelmed by the many options of meat available to try.
Billy’s career in music started early, pretty much straight from high school. In fact, his father’s musical career had a big impact on his own life. Billy was performing gigs at the age of 17 and ended up playing about 4 nights a week as a Senior in high school. Once you hear his voice, you’ll instantly understand why. This only increased over the years to follow. Things quickly escalated when a family friend reached out to Billy to get him to voice demos of songs he had written. He was blown away. He asked Billy if he had any original songs and before he knew it, Billy’s song was being sent to record labels. Billy got a manager, spent some time on song writing and eventually signed with one of the biggest record labels around, Interscope.
Billy writes all of his songs. He plans to release his debut album in the summer of 2018, recording in January. Billy’s had a stacked schedule with tours through December of this year. And as we mentioned part of that touring is with NEEDTOBREATHE. He was a fan before touring with them but viewing through the eyes of now being a successful musician, was immediately impressed by their artistry and production value. His exact remark, “They’re world class.” Here’s the best part, NEEDTOBREATHE brothers, Bo and Bear had heard Billy’s music too. That was the key to starting the whole tour together. Since then, the performers will all sit down and have long talks about their journeys. Billy has a lot of respect for the band and who they are as people. We can’t blame him.
I can’t wait to see how this artist’s career grows as more discover what he’s capable of. He’s a truly kind, down-t0-earth person with a genuine love for music.