Willis Earl Beal

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Willis Earl Beal
Born Chicago, Illinois, USA
Genres Lo-fi, folk, experimental, R&B, soul, gospel, Blues
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, Musician, Music Producer/Recording Artist, Visual Artist, Writer, Actor
Labels Tender Loving Empire, Electric Soul, The Minimal Beat
Website www.willisearlbeal.com

Willis Earl Beal is an artist[1] and musician.[2]


Beal was born in Chicago, Illinois. In his early twenties Beal joined the US Army, moving to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Beal was medically discharged from the army due to intestinal problems. He then returned to Chicago where he worked at Sears Tower, following a five-month hospital stay.[3] In 2007, Beal moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Here Beal spent some time homeless, and working entry-level jobs, notably as a night-shift security guard. During this time Beal began to record music, leaving CD-Rs in public spaces around Albuquerque. Beal would also leave self-illustrated flyers around the town in the hope of finding a girlfriend.[4] One of these flyers was discovered by Found Magazine who put Beal on the cover of their magazine.[1] Found later released a limited-edition box set called The Willis Earl Beal Collection, which included Beal's poetry, artwork and a 17-song album.[5] Through these flyers and the subsequent coverage in Found, Beal was contacted by more than 100 members of the public.[6] Beal participated in auditions for Simon Cowell's The X Factor television show, but dropped out of the "boot-camp" stage of the competition.[7]

In 2012, Beal signed a recording contract with Hot Charity, an imprint of independent record label, XL Recordings. Beal's first single for the labels, "Evening's Kiss" was released on February 17, 2012 and the accompanying music video was illustrated by Beal.[8] Beal's debut album, entitled Acousmatic Sorcery was released on April 2, 2012.[9]

His next album was titled 'Nobody knows.' and was released on September 10, 2013. He also stars in a film entitled MEMPHIS directed by Tim Sutton that premiered at the 2013 Venice film festival.

In 2013 Willis Earl Beal toured with a full live band using the title, The Church of Nobody, a movement he describes as "A non-existent organization/congregation acting as an anti-church for those who wish to expand universal consciousness without the imposing dogma and oppression of established religion and government..." says Willis Earl Beal who aspires to much more than simply 'music'. In his own words, he describes Nobody Knows. and the rest of his music as "filled with an individualistic set of emotions that can be universally applied and understood". In the Nobody Knows. package, these emotions are insulated with a prescribed 'solution' expressed in a manifesto written by Willis. It implores people to turn away from the media despite being a product of it. This manifesto claims that modern society has all but destroyed the 'individual soul' to replace it with an empty, shallow representation of freedom that perpetuates competition for the purpose of maintaining its overarching capitalist regime.

After Nobody Knows., Willis Earl Beal moved from New York City to Washington State. It was during this time that he released A Place That Doesn't Exist an 8 song EP featuring light production from sound engineers Matt DeWine of Pieholden Studios and Alex Epton, formerly known as XXXchange. This free release was intended to appease his fans after an abruptly canceled European tour. Though no specific reason was given for the cancellation, Willis released a statement directly to the fans on his Tumblr page called 'The Book Of Nobody' stating the reason to be "as mysterious to me as it is to you..." 2 months later, Willis Again released another 8 song EP called Curious Cool.

After voluntarily parting ways with Hot Charity/XL records, Willis Earl Beal released his third official full-length record called Experiments In Time: The Golden Hour. The record is an independent release and is entirely self-produced. He describes the record as 'a dreamy collection of Gregorian-chant like Dirges'. The record is intended to be a time capsule of the 9 months he has lived in Washington State and is 21 tracks long. It has been released via Cdbaby in digital form.

Beal will release Noctunes on August 28, 2015 via Tender Loving Empire.


  • Principles of a Protagonist (BitTorrent, 2012)
  • A Place that doesn't exist (self-released, 2013)
  • Flying So Low / 12 Midnight (TMB Limited, 2015) 7 Inch Single


  1. ^ a b "On Display: Willis Earl Beal | Chicago Reader". chicagoreader.com. 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  2. ^ "Tracks: Willis Earl Beal: Evening's Kiss". Pitchfork. 2012-01-04. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  3. ^ "On Display: Ice Breaker: Willis Earl Beal". gq.com. 2012-03-23. Retrieved 2012-03-26. 
  4. ^ "[Portrait] Willis Earl Beal : Le roi est nu - Standards and More". Standardsandmore.fr. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  5. ^ "On Display: Found Magazine Shop". foundmagazine.com. 
  6. ^ "On Display: Willis Earl Beal | Chicago Reader". chicagoreader.com. 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  7. ^ Usinger, Mike (May 2, 2012). "Bullshit-free Willis Earl Beal has one hell of a backstory". Georgia Straight. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  8. ^ "Video: Willis Earl Beal, "Evening’s Kiss"". thefader.com. 2012-02-23. Retrieved 2012-02-23. 
  9. ^ "Willis Earl Beal debuts new track and announces first ever UK shows". nme.com. 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2012-02-07. 

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