A HARMONICA player from Leamington, who has performed alongside Paul McCartney, has been nominated for a Musician of the Year award.
Former Myton School pupil Will Pound was given a harmonica by his musician dad Bill when he was just ten-years-old.
As a baby Will underwent open heart surgery leaving him with breathing issues, which his dad thought could be helped by practicing the instrument.
And he was right, as nearly 17 years on Will has forged a career from his love of the instrument, and has now been nominated as Musician Of The Year in the BBC Radio Two Folk Awards.
The 27-year-old, who studied music at Warwickshire College in Leamington, said: “I have already been nominated for this award twice before but have never won. I’m hoping it will be third time lucky. Musician of the year is the toughest category and I’m just happy to have been nominated. For someone who was brought up around folk music and is entirely self-taught it’s great.”
The nomination is just one highlight of an impressive career for Will, who performed alongside the likes of former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney, Robbie Williams and Paloma Faith on the 2012 Christmas number one charity song He Ain’t Heavy.
Will’s close friend and world-famous music producer Guy Chambers asked him to play harmonica on the single, which was released in aid of families bereaved by the Hillsborough disaster.
Since then he has gone on to play at Buckingham Palace as part of a Radio Two session, and released his own album A Cut Above.
And now the musician – who credits Louis Armstrong as his biggest influence – is working on some new material with Leamington bassist and beat-boxer John Parker, of Nizlopi fame.
The duo teamed up with fiddler Henry Webster and guitarist Chris Sarjeant to form The Will Pound Band – combining traditional English, Irish and Scottish music with blues and jazz to create a unique sound.
It is this ‘ground-breaking’ style which Will says is his favourite part of making music.
He said: “Playing in front of Prince Harry at Buckingham Palace was definitely one of the highlights of my career so far. But the really important thing for me is making music that is really different and groundbreaking and has never been done before.
“The band has only been going for eight months but it’s going really well for us. We’re starting work on our first album, although it may take a while as we can take hours over just one part of a song as we want it to be perfect.”
And Will is returning to his roots next month to visit Warwickshire College and give a talk to budding musicians.
He said: “I’m really looking forward to returning to my old college, but this time not as a student. It will be weird going back but I’m looking forward to talking about the music industry and what music jobs are out there.”
The winner for the Folk Awards will be announced on April 22.
Visit thewillpoundband.com to find out more about Will and the band.
Will, originally from Leamington, credits his dad for introducing him to the harmonica. (s) The Will Pound Band (left) are planning on recording their debut album later this year. (s)