Beckett proves capable of handling solo career

William Beckett goes solo with his newest EP, Walk the Talk.

By Lauren Price, Online Arts Editor

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After the departure of several members of the rock band The Academy Is… (TAI) in May 2011, the remaining members decided to go their separate ways the following October.

Though fans were disappointed about the end of an era, the ex-TAI members took no time at all in creating new projects. Former front man William Beckett decided to start his own solo career. Not even a year after announcing the split, Beckett has announced that he is releasing three EPs, essentially four song albums, in April, July, and Oct.

Beckett’s new EP, Walk the Talk, was released April 17, and the promotional tour kicks off May 4 in Minneapolis, MN. More details can be found at his official website, williambeckettmusic.com.

Below is an exclusive interview with him, with topics ranging from the split to his weekly Stageit.com online concerts to his future as a musician.

Q: Why are you releasing three EPs this year, instead of one whole album? When can fans expect a full album? Essentially, what’s the next step in your music career?

A: Since I am releasing these EPs independently, I have the freedom and power to do anything I want in regards to the music and how it’s released. Putting out three installments of what would otherwise be a full-length record is more exciting to me. This way, after three months another EP comes out, just as you’re hungry for more. It’s not an all-you-can-eat buffet, it’s three-course, small-portion, high end cuisine. There is a constant stream of material for them, as opposed to getting a 13-song album dumped into your lap and having to wait a year-and-a-half for more music.

Q: What factors influenced or inspired the songs you wrote for these EPs? Do you find your sound similar to your former band, The Academy Is…?

A: The focal point of Walk the Talk thematically introduces you to my story. I chose my first single to be “Compromising Me” because lyrically it paints a vivid picture of where I am in my creative and personal life. At the core, I feel the same spark inside me that I had when I was writing the first TAI record. Writing is fun again. Writing is necessary again. As far as the production goes, it’s certainly and decidedly different from what I’ve done in the past. I love having the ability to fully follow my instincts creatively and not have to look over my shoulder every two seconds for the cool police. If it feels right to me, then it’s right for my song.

Q: You have become an avid user of the website Stageit.com to stream online concerts. How has it helped you hype up your new songs? Does playing old TAI songs help you (or the fans) find closure for the end of the band?

A: Stageit is a brilliant concept and I’m shocked more artists aren’t using it. It’s been a blast playing online shows for my fans every week, and it has indeed been great for showcasing my new songs. Along with the new music, I play a wide variety of my favorite TAI songs, and I’ve also recently done a show of just covers. This is absolutely bringing closure to the past, not so much for me but for the incredible fans that have shown support for TAI and me over the years. I wanted to do something to honor that time, while allowing myself to put it behind me and focus on the exciting road ahead.

Q: What lessons did you take away from the experience of TAI?

The lessons learned are exponential, really. I learned that the friendships and bonds we made as a band and with other bands over the seven years that we were together are probably the most important parts of the experience. We saw the world time and time again (a lot of it, anyway), we played our hearts out and I don’t regret a single day spent with those guys, good or bad. I’ve learned a great deal on the administrative side of things as well, which is proving to be most useful now that I am running things myself with a brand new managerial team around me.

Q: How did your fans react when the end of TAI was announced?

A: The fans reacted as I expected they would. There was a lot of sadness and confusion, but mostly handled respectfully. I’m not trying to bury what I had in the past, but rather branching off of those roots and evolving into something more reflective of who I am and what my perspective is today.

Q: What is your personal favorite song that you wrote (off of any TAI album or any of your new ones)?

A: My favorite songs are always the most recent ones I’ve written. The writer’s pet on Walk The Talk is a song called “Oh, Love!” There are some fantastic songs waiting in the wings that I have penned to come out on my second EP this summer. So on that note, sleep with one eye open, and I hope to see you out on the Walk The Talk tour in May.