095 Billy Crabbe



Location: LONDON


Towards the end of last year I got an email from a friend of a friend relating to a message I had posted on Facebook. Off the back of the conversation we had I told Billy about The Spiralling and he said he’d love to have a feature. 

7Billy Crabbe’s passion for music and musical education began from a young age with his parents taking him to his first piano lessons at the age of 5 in Luxembourg and then continuing on after moving to Thessaloniki, Greece. “At the age of 8, I stopped piano lessons and not long after turning 9, began taking classical guitar lessons which I became very passionate about. However by 13, my whole outlook on the guitar changed after listening to my cousin play the electric guitar. His virtuoso abilities, drive and motivation to learn the instrument, made me fall in love with the electric guitar. We would spend hours listening to heavy metal records, practising guitar and he would show me various techniques and licks.”

When he was 14 Billy’s family relocated to Washington, D.C. where he officially began taking electric guitar lessons. “This was a turning point in my life as I began getting exposed to a lot of Blues/Jazz music and began drifting away from my previous Metal influences. I began listening to musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Three Kings (Albert, BB, Freddy) and Johnny Winters. In August 2007 (age 16), I attended a summer program at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. This is when I realised that music is what I wanted to do with my life. For the next two years I spent hours on end practising with the ultimate goal to get into a music college.” In 2009 he returned to Berklee and graduated with a BA in Performance with his principal instrument being guitar. “These four years, were some of the greatest years of my musical journey. Being accepted into Berklee was something I really wanted and worked very hard towards it. Receiving that acceptance letter was one of my proudest moments because I knew all my hard work had paid off. My musical influences expanded listening to Jazz, Fusion, Blues and singer-songwriters.” 

3After graduating, he moved to Nashville, TN with his good friend and band-mate Keenan Payne who he had formed The Hypnopompics with during his last year of college. “My stay in Nashville unfortunately only lasted for 6 months and I moved back home to Greece. During our time as a band, we recorded two songs and were very fortunate to be featured in Cultural Weekly, a new blog owned by film producer Adam Leipzig.” In January 2014, Billy moved to London where he continued his musical adventures. “Within a short time, I managed to immerse myself into the music scene both as an artist and, up until recently, as session guitarist for other performers. In the last year, I have played some great venues such as The Borderline, Zigfrid Von Underbelly, Proud Camden, Charlie Wright’s, The Dorchester Hotel, Purple Turtle (Camden), Boxpark and The Monarch. I was very fortunate to start doing session work for various artists including R&B Singer, Nadia Rae and Rock artists KODY.”

6Now a Soul/Blues singer-songwriter, on 25th May 2015, Billy released his first single titled, ‘Way Back Home’ (which was used in a fashion segment on the This Morning on ITV which you can see here). “This release marked the beginning of my journey as an artist. Writing music in a room and recording music is one thing. I had to figure out how to mix and master music at a descent level during a time when I couldn’t afford to send my songs to be done professionally. I spent 2 weeks, all day, every day, reading books, watching YouTube tutorials trying to suck in as much info as possible. Performing and getting to see how people react to your music is another. I just enjoy playing music, especially with a band, there is a thrill that comes with it. Knowing that you have a certain amount of time to showcase yourself and try and communicate with an audience. It’s a process of self discovery, and testing your comfort zone. I think that’s how I feel about it at this point in my career, maybe it will change.” 

1Billy gets inspired listening to Motown and Soul music. “Some artists that I enjoy listening to are: Bill Withers, Stevie Wonder, Allen Stone, Tingsek, Bernhoft and Jonny Lang. I often go onto New Artists in iTunes and just check out what new music is coming out. An artist I discovered recently was Samm Henshaw. I listened to his Sound Experiment II EP and just got hooked. I also get inspired by listening to guitarists. One of my favourites is a guy called Allen Hinds.” 

Currently Billy is working on his debut EP which will be released in 2017. “It’s taking up most of my time. I have a couple of gigs lined up including a Facebook Live Acoustic Show on the 26th November. The rest of the gigs are open mic nights which you’ll be able to find dates and locations for through my website. The overall plan at the moment is to share my music with as many people as I can.” 

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