On my 15th birthday I picked up my first guitar. I grew up on the southern Swedish countryside and had previously been a sports kind of guy and most of my childhood I spent with friends playing football and ice hockey.
One year into my guitar-playing I was already committed with two different bands and through my curiosity for music and determination to become as good as my band members I practiced and studied more than I had ever done for anything before. The reward I received was an invite to audition for a locally known band that was already signed to a label in Copenhagen and before I knew it I was needed as a bass player to join for an upcoming album and tour. I was so happy to be part of this project and felt like this could really be where my music career took off and I could be a musician full time. Filming music videos, photoshoots with famous photographers, and having our record produced by legendary songwriters was a dream come through for me being a teenager who had just finished high-school. I had no experience in the music industry and had full trust in that the management would hold up their end of the deal. Unfortunately our record never came out and we never went on a world tour.
My dream of standing in front of thousands of people with my band was shattered. I was angry and frustrated, but I went back to the rehearsal room to practice and plan for a return with a new band. I was nineteen years old and I was hungry to stand on stage. I played live regularly and I wrote songs with several bands, but as my confidence grew I wanted to take on a bigger role. Singing had always been something I was very fascinated by, but I didn’t have either a singing voice or the courage to sing in front of others. I started singing in one of the bands and my interest for the voice grew exponentially as I learned more about myself and my ability to express myself with it. For more than two years I practiced singing and as my confidence grew my ambition did as well. I began studying business management at trade school back in Sweden, but in my mind I knew that I wanted to pursue a career on stage so while studying, working, and playing music in Sweden I started applying to various music programs and to my excitement I received a letter which welcomed me to study in USA.
Finally I was doing it. Living like a rockstar in California. Every day I was studying and playing music or acting on stage and camera. From living in a small town in Sweden where the interest for my music was little to none, I was immediately embraced by the community of Santa Barbara and they loved my music and I was ecstatic about my new home. I was given opportunity after opportunity to stand on stage and sing my heart out at the school venues, downtown at local theatres, and even travel and tour in various cities around California. After more than two years of living it up on the American west coast, receiving the best possible education and experience, I was now heading back home to Sweden to finish my Business Manager degree.
7 years later today and I still think about Santa Barbara like it just happened. It was truly a time period where I was challenged to break out of my comfort zone every day and I connected with wonderful people from all over the world during my great adventure. It’s not easy to forget nor do I want to. I’m still riding on that wave of inspiration and my music today is heavily influenced by all my impressions from the time overseas.
Even though I still visit California once a year, I live in Sweden now where I’m able to continue my pursuit of happiness which is following my passion and making a great impact in peoples lives. I’m still working a nine-to-five to pay the bills and provide for my community, but I’m more determined now than ever that my career will be on stage, on the road and in the studio where I can connect with people and inspire. That’s been my ambition for as long as I can remember and I’m very proud to say that I’ve managed to always break new barriers and find new interesting ways to improve my music.
Today I sing everyday and record new music preparing for the stage with my band Wilja. I’m happier than ever because I believe in myself and my ability to make an impact. I take action to reach my goals and I learn what I need in order to grow as a musician and performer.
Wiljatheband.com Visit and stay tuned!!