Willis in 2006.
|Birth name||Mathew James Willis|
8 May 1983 |
Tooting, South London, England, United Kingdom
|Genres||Pop rock, pop punk|
|Occupations||Musician, singer-songwriter, television presenter, actor|
|Instruments||Guitar, vocals, bass, drums|
|Labels||Mercury (2006–08, 2012–)
|Associated acts||Busted, McFly, McBusted|
Mathew James Willis (born 8 May 1983) is a British musician, singer-songwriter, television presenter and actor, who found fame as a founding member of pop rock band Busted from 2001 until their split in 2005. After the split, Willis released his debut solo album "Don't Let It Go to Waste" on 20 November 2006 spanning three top 20 singles. In 2014, Busted and McFly are to tour together, creating the superband McBusted.
In December 2006, Willis won the sixth series of the ITV reality series I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, and later went on to co-present the ITV2 spin-off show with his wife Emma in 2007 and 2008.
Mathew James Willis was born in Tooting in London on 8 May 1983. Willis has an older brother, Darren; their parents split up when Matt was 3-years-old. His mother later remarried and had his half-sister, Amanda, who is an ambassador for a charity called Whizz-Kidz. Willis has had three different last names legally whilst growing up; Willis after his birth father, this was changed to Woods after his parents split and later changed to Sargent after his mother married her now current husband. Willis has made it clear that he was a "problem" child, regularly sneaking out of the house by shimmying down drain pipes. He also as a child suffered from brittle bone disease, tunnel vision, asthma and hyperactivity problems.
Willis attended Woking High School after being asked to leave his previous secondary school, before leaving to attend the independent fee-paying Sylvia Young Theatre School in Marylebone, London, where he met his now close friends Lee Ryan, Tom Fletcher, Billie Piper, Jodi Albert, and Amy Winehouse who had openly said that she fancied Matt at school: "Yeah we all loved Matt at school. I fancied him, Everyone did."
Willis first found fame in the music industry as one-third of the pop-rock band, Busted. The band's bassist and vocalist, Willis formed the band as well as co-writing almost all of their songs alongside Charlie Simpson, James Bourne and Tom Fletcher although the latter was a member of McFly. During their career, the trio became successful in Britain and began an upsurge of pop-punk popularity. They had several chart successes and released two studio albums, one live album and a compilation of their greatest hits, available in America. The band disbanded in 2005 due to Simpson leaving to pursue other projects.
After a brief stint in rehab after Busted split, Matt launched a solo career on Mercury Records, releasing singles in 2005 and 2006, "Up All Night", "Hey Kid", "Don't Let It Go to Waste", and a cover version of The Primitives song, "Crash" for the film Mr Bean's Holiday.
After appearing on ITV's I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, Willis decided it was time for a change. Just as he was about to depart on his first solo UK Tour with support band The Riverclub, he sacked his agents of six years 'Prestige Management'. This later came with the decision to leave his record label Mercury Records. "It's not a simple case of dropping an artist but just that we both felt we had reached a point where we could no longer move forwards."
Willis wrote on Twitter that the album recording is in its first stages. He has announced that the second album may now be released in October or November 2012. Matt is currently starring as Fiyero the male lead in the hit musical Wicked.
In September 2013, Willis appeared alongside James Bourne in a brief Busted reunion during McFly's tenth anniversary concerts at the Royal Albert Hall. They joined McFly as 'McBusted', playing the Busted's "Year 3000" and "Air Hostess", as well as McFly's "Shine a Light".
Since winning I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, Willis has pursued various presenting projects. On 14 February 2007, Willis took his first major presenting role, when he was one of the presenters of ITV2's coverage of the BRIT Awards, alongside Lauren Laverne, Russell Howard and Alesha Dixon. He returned to this role in 2008 alongside Emma Willis and Lauren Laverne. He interviewed Rihanna, Shayne Ward, Adele, Ozzy Osbourne, Kate Nash and many more including Perez Hilton who became very fond of Matt.
In December 2006 on ITV, Willis was crowned 'King of the Jungle' being the winning contestant on I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! despite going into the final day as the 8-1 underdog against Myleene Klass and Jason Donovan. Weighing 13 stone 2 lb upon entering, he discovered that he had lost 2 stone after being weighed again in the jungle. In order to enter the jungle, Willis was required to bungee jump from a plane. During his stay, in a compulsory bushtucker trial, Willis ate a kangaroo anus, crocodile penis, crocodile eye, witchetty grub, and some sweeties and mealworms to earn a cooked, luxury meal for himself and the other celebrities.
In November 2007, Willis and his wife Emma Griffiths went to Australia and presented I'm a Celebrity... Get Me out of Here! Now on ITV2 after Willis had won the 2006 series. Following in 2008, the couple were asked back after winning a presenting award earlier that year. Each series lasted over six weeks in Australia during November and December. In early 2009, Willis and his wife did not renew their contract with ITV2 due to the birth of their first child in June 2009. Willis appeared on Big Brother's Bit on the Side alongside his wife in November 2011.
Following "I'm a Celebrity... Get Me out of Here!", Willis featured in a succession of celebrity based TV shows. In December 2006, he took part in an episode of Ready, Steady, Cook where he beat fellow "I'm a Celebrity..." contestant Toby Anstis. A month later, Willis finished fifth in a Music Stars Special of The Weakest Link. Bonnie Langford won the episode, having been Strongest Link in every round bar Round 2, in which Willis was the Strongest Link. At the end of the year he appeared with Myleene Klass as a guest contributor to The Big Fat Quiz of the Year.
Alongside presenting, Willis has also delved into acting. As a teenager, Willis was featured on The Bill & Casualty, both times as a drug dealer, and EastEnders as an extra. He would later return to Casualty to play a larger role as ich Harris in the episode on 25 May 2013.
In 2010, Willis reinvented himself somewhat as a theatrical actor. In October, it was announced Willis would play Nick in Flashdance: The Musical, a West-End production. Later that year, Willis was offered the role of Chuck in an adaption of Footloose. Willis claimed he had 'never danced in his life' but on the experience exclaimed he was 'loving it'. Late 2011 also saw Willis take on the role of Fiyero in Wicked the musical. He continued the role until 27 October 2012, when he was replaced by Ben Freeman.
Willis married his long term girlfriend of three years, Emma Griffiths, at Rushton Hall, Northamptonshire, on 5 July 2008. Guests included ex-members of Son of Dork, James Bourne, David Gest, Holly Willoughby, Ant McPartlin, McFly, Kara Tointon and Heidi Range. OK! covered the wedding. In December 2007 they took part in their first press shoot for OK!, even though Matt said he did not want to be a part of the whole cycle. In November 2007 Willis claimed to have stopped smoking, which he had done from the age of 11, but has since been photographed smoking.
In April 2005, aged 21, Willis had a brief stint for three weeks in London's Priory Rehab Hospital for alcoholism. In July 2006, aged 23, Willis was admitted again for a few days to the Priory Rehab Hospital for drug abuse, because he was hooked on cannabis from the age of 13. Matt began to have problems from the drug-taking including physiological and memory problems. In June 2008, aged 25, Willis entered the providence project rehab centre in Bournemouth after a marriage ultimatum, as Willis continued to take drugs and drink heavily. It was reported that a night out with close friend Amy Winehouse pushed Willis too far. Willis took the full five-week course in drugs and alcohol.
On 28 February 2010 Willis was injured in a skiing accident.
- Don't Let It Go to Waste (2006)
|2006||"Up All Night"||7||29||-||Don't Let It Go to Waste|
|"Don't Let It Go to Waste"||19||44||-|
|2007||"Crash"||31||-||-||Mr. Bean's Holiday OST|
- "The West End Men, Vaudeville Theatre, review". Daily Telegraph. 4 June 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- Kilkelly, Daniel (19 December 2013). "EastEnders: Matt Willis cast as Stacey Branning's boyfriend". Digital Spy. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
- "Matt Willis announces the birth of his daughter". Twitter.com. 22 June 2009. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
- "Matt Willis announces the birth of his Son". Twitter.com. 27 November 2011. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
- Frankie Genchi (23 February 2010). "OMG! Matt Willis breaks his collarbone!". Fleckingrecords.co.uk. Retrieved 14 September 2011.