Lauren Becker / Gavel Media

Off the Record: William Bolton (Willy B)

Amidst the clusters of CSOM students, whose polished dress shoes and tasteful high heels clack solidly against the black and white tiled floors of the Fulton atrium, William Bolton is certainly an odd spectacle to behold on an unseasonably cold Sunday evening in early April.  While those around him opt for more conservative garb, Bolton dons a burgundy velvet blazer in place of navy blue wool and torn black jeans in place of neatly pleated dress pants. Instead of a Vineyard Vines tie, he's gone with a loose multicolored scarf, clutching a worn leather guitar case in place of a resume portfolio.

Like his wardrobe, Bolton's music reflects a similar drive to stand out in its combination of soulful, Motown-inspired melodies, hip-hop instrumentation, and laid-back vocal style. However, on a fundamental level Bolton and his success can be boiled down to the balancing of extremes: a style that is both unique and stylistically consistent. With this successful balance, his music leaves behind the telltale mental itch of a catchy sound – an uncommon trait in many young aspiring musicians.

Radiating positivity and eager excitement, Bolton immediately gravitates towards the multicolored fabric murals and begins to orate his vision for the space to the ever-present Victor Araromi. Otherwise known as Vic, Araromi is Bolton’s drummer, hype man, photographer, manager, co-producer, and close friend. While they wait to begin recording, Bolton plugs in his electric guitar to a small Fender amp and riffs on a few random chords while Vic drums on his knees, chest, and feet, both tirelessly pursuing new ideas despite the lateness of the hour.

The two, now inseparable, met two years ago after Bolton went door to door distributing 1000 CDs of his first EP. In storybook fashion, Vic, a freshman at the time, got ahold of the EP through a mutual friend and reached out. Coincidentally, Bolton happened to be searching for a drummer. From that point on the two have established an inseparable dynamic: “We’re completely a team, which has been an amazing part of the whole experience, I think, and was something I always wanted in music,” said Bolton.

In addition to the forthcoming release of his latest single, “Rain in LA,” Bolton has big plans fast approaching. This April, the two are going on their first mini tour, bringing them to stages in Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and Portsmouth. In addition, they will perform at the Firefly Music Festival this June – their biggest venue yet.

From the Fulton atrium to the festival grounds in the Dover Woodlands, Bolton’s eccentric musical and personal style will always allow him to stand out among the suits of the world.

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