Meet Wil Key of Wil Key
I come from a long line of musicians. Music was always in the home when I was growing up. I had uncles that played horn, my mother played piano and my grandfather played with several celebrity musicians. There was no way that I was doing anything else. Not because there was any pressure, but why in the world would I do anything else. Lol. I got my first gig at 11 playing piano and they gave me money. I was hooked from that moment on. I played professionally all thru high school, traveling with a RnB band doing shows. I also started producing and recording artists in my hometown. Went away to school at Howard University where I studied Jazz and Music Business. Came back home and opened a recording studio where I did work for Jive Records and Def Jam and many local artists. Moved to Colorado to go to grad school and continued to write, perform and record there – earning a Masters Degree in Jazz Performance. From there, I moved to Los Angeles where I have been ever since. I currently write, perform and record all over the word and have my own recording studio in South Bay.
I have never had trouble getting work as a musician. In that way I’ve been fortunate. The hardest thing I have found is to get proper compensation for the music that I create. With the advent of streaming technology, artists are taking a huge hit to their finances. Streaming companies are not paying artists nearly enough money. We’re currently fighting for legislation to change this as a community of artists.
I write, record and perform music. I specialize in urban contemporary styles, some gospel, some jazz and hip-hop. I play several instruments and sing, so when I’m not working on my original stuff as an artist, I produce and write for others and also do music for TV/Film. I would say my niche is that I am able to create a wide variety of music using real and digital instruments from the ground up – uniquely for each artist. Many producers are only able to use loops and samples to create content these days, so I offer an advantage in this respect.
This is a great question. For me, success is being able to do what I most love to do for a living. As long as I am able to create and perform original music with integrity, I am a successful artist. Would it be nice to have Grammys, recognition and other accolades? Yes, but they are just outer manifestations of an artistic life well-lived – just icing on an already delicious cake!
I have been blessed enough to write, perform and record in many places with many talented artists. We are currently recording a project called “Globetrotter: Side B” all over the world. Each song on the album is being recorded in a different country of the globe. We’ve done Australia, Germany, Brazil, Netherlands and Nigeria among others. We will be headed to Copenhagen, Denmark to record later this month.