Willie J Healey is today sharing a brand-new single, ‘Thank You’ feat. Jamie T. It is the latest track to be taken from his forthcoming album Bunny which has a new release date. Bunny is now due 25th August 2023 on YALA! Records.
Bunny is available to pre-order here now.
In addition to its digital & streaming formats, the album will also be released on standard black vinyl and a pink gatefold vinyl, which will be available exclusively from his store here. A transparent vinyl edition will be available via key indie stores and HMV, while a Rough Trade edition features exclusive, alternate artwork.
‘Thank You’ feat. Jamie T follows recent new album cuts ‘Dreams’ – a tongue-in-cheek reflection on the cost of ambition – and ‘Sure Feels Good’ – its sunnier follow-up. As Healey continues to chart a course into a world populated by the sounds of funk, Philly soul and R&B, here he is joined here by chart-topping and platinum-selling songwriter Jamie T who lends his unmistakable South London vocal to a song that airs its gratitude for refreshing new outlooks. It reveals itself to be pivotal in understanding how Willie’s evolution in sound has come to be – and it all comes down to a piece of kit lent to him by his guest Jamie T. “Thank you for the drum machine, J. You got me doing things differently,” he sings.
Willie comments on the new single: “I was tired and flat and didn’t know what to make & then my friend Jamie said ay willie I’ve got this drum machine it might inspire you.. I picked it up and wrote ‘Thank You’ the next day, it was my way of thanking Jamie for being a good friend. I dedicate it to anyone trying to do their own thing.”
Hear ‘Thank You’ feat. Jamie T on streaming services here and share on YouTube below.
Is Willie J Healey your favourite artists’ favourite artist? You better believe it. Alex Turner, Joe Talbot of IDLES, Jamie T, Florence Welch and Orlando Weeks are among those who believe, following the Neil Young-meets-The Beatles-meets Elvis Costello charms of his 2020 album Twin Heavy. Now Willie returns with a new sound as he shares the new single ‘Dreams’ ahead of the release of his new set Bunny on 25th August 2023 via Yala! Records.
Bunny sees Willie diving whole-heartedly into funk, Philly soul and R&B in a set that echoes Sly and The Family Stone, Midnite Vultures-era Beck and a little OutKast. Yet Willie comes at this classic sound via an unusual influence: David Bowie’s relatively undiscovered The Gouster – an album of the Thin White Duke at his funkiest.
Willie says, “The whole era is something that I love. Long before making ‘Twin Heavy’, I had always listened to funk, soul and R&B, but for some reason it never translated into my own music. Really my inspiration was just the feel of things, I really enjoyed playing music that makes you feel really good.”
Teaming up with producer and drummer Loren Humphrey (Florence + The Machine, Arctic Monkeys, Lana Del Rey), Willie headed to New York with his long-term bassist Harry Deacon to record alongside Loren’s ridiculously accomplished team of musicians. He compares the experience to being like Brian Wilson: he writes and fronts the songs, but it was an unadulterated joy to let the band work their magic. Another guest comes in the shape of Jamie T, who inspired and features on ‘Thank You’.
Outside of its fresh sonic style, Bunny stands out due to its vibrant feelgood factor. Willie’s personal sense of contentment is so engaging you can’t help but fall under its spell, especially as love is a recurring topic. While there’s a fresh maturity to his words and a desire to express more universal emotions, there’s still plenty of Willie’s dry British humour at play as we heard with the recent low-key fan release ‘Tiger Woods’. Last year’s single ‘Dreams’ was essentially a bigger spiritual successor to ‘Tiger Woods’, with hypnotic grooves, gospel harmonies and brass flourishes supporting Willie’s organic, understated falsetto.