AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with BILLY RAFFOUL

“Until I was five, we lived on a farm and we literally sold tomatoes,” recalls Billy Raffoul of his upbringing in Leamington, Ontario, also known as the “Tomato Capital of Canada.” My mother was a painter and a writer, my dad was always playing shows and doing gigs,” he adds. “We were always around music.”

Raffoul began making his own music at the ripe old age of 14; a young man with an old soul, his gravelly wail conveys the emotion and experience of a man twice his age. “I was writing love songs before I had any real experience in the field,” he laughs. “At 16, I had my first real relationship, and then my songs starting carrying a little bit more water.” Raffoul had been singing demos for hire, when someone sent a vocal clip of his to a manager in Nashville, who took him on and introduced him to members of the songwriting community. “Before that time, I had all these songs written, and I was like ‘let’s do this, I don’t need to write with anyone.’ I was a little sure of myself,” he says with a laugh. “But then, I had a my first co-writing session—it was amazing, and my mind was changed.”

On May 5th, Raffoul released his first single, “Driver,” inspired by his family picking up a hitchhiker. During a writing session in Los Angeles, the Raffoul told the story to songwriter Simon Wilcox and songwriter-producer Nolan Lambroza. “We turned it into something a little more sentimental, in that maybe I’m not singing about someone being lost on the side of the road, but maybe someone lost in life who doesn’t know where they’re going or what they’re supposed to be doing,” he explains. “Driver” is a taste of what’s to come—Raffoul is currently working on his debut album for legendary label Interscope Records. “I feel like there are five sides to this album, not just two,” he reveals. “‘Driver’ represents one side, influenced by the garage rock I grew up listening to, really loud guitars and extreme emotion. The album has a lot of stripped-down acoustic moments, there’s a lighthearted side. Some songs are live takes,  some are more produced. I talk about my hometown, my family, my first relationship, each song is an experience—mine or someone’s who is close to me.”

He’s also ready to hit the road and share his music with the eager masses. “Until recently, my live shows have been just me and a guitar. I’m excited to tour with a proper band, and give the audience a really dynamic show,” he says. “I like to create moments.”


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