At nine-years old, Willa Amai began her journey writing songs about heartbreaks she had yet to experience, losses she had never felt, and social injustices she didn’t even know existed. With an eclectic mix of inspirations - from Regina Spektor records played during bath time to the poetry books her parents read to her - this Los Angeles native quickly amassed a body of work revealing lyrical complexity far beyond her years. She also created imaginative melodies, something she partly attributes to synesthesia (a neurological phenomenon in which one sense triggers the perception of another sense, such as seeing letters and words as color).
At 14, she won acclaim for her gently breathtaking rendition of Dolly Parton’s “Here You Come Again” (recorded with Dolly herself and featured on the talent filled Dumplin’ soundtrack). Esquirepraised the duet as “truly exceptional” and “one of the few moments that an accompanying voice is able to keep up with Parton’s.” Refinery29 hailed their interaction as “a passing of the torch.” In addition to her duet with Dolly, Willa had the opportunity to join another one of her musical influences when Brandi Carlile invited her to perform a duet at the Great American Music Hall.
Now 16, Willa has begun sharing her music with the world, showing the extraordinary depth of her narrative voice and the subtle power of her songwriting. “When I’m writing it’s almost like I’m turning on a radio,” she says. “It might take a few songs to find a station that comes through, but once I do find it, it’s just right. It’s like the song already exists and my job is to pull it out of the air and into the world.”
Willa is currently in the studio with Perry working on her forthcoming full-length debut album.