(Original Photo By: Mainstage Imagery)
The problem with being a trailblazer is that sometimes there’s no telling where the path can take you. Most often, the road is dark and winding, with no one to show you the way. Though everything and everyone is telling you to turn around, there’s a part of you that’s excited for the journey, and it motivates you to press on. 22-year-old, Will Sparks, emerged in 2012 with a new sound out of his hometown of Melbourne. This new, energetic genre spread like wildfire and quickly made him “The King of Bounce.” In this episode of Aspire to Inspire, we take a look at his humble past, present, and future.
Before becoming a DJ, Will Sparks enjoyed heavy metal. While he learned to play the guitar, his love for dance music crashed in at age 16, when his friends bought CDJs, piquing his curiosity. After jumping a fence and sneaking into a club, he discovered the pioneers of Melbourne Underground and became hooked instantly. For three months after, Will continued to sneak into that same club (even on school nights) to listen to the music. Once he realized that it was impossible to track the music down in record stores or online, he finally decided to start producing records, refusing to stop until he got the sound he liked.
Taking the initiative has always been Will’s MO. He constantly endured negativity from his teachers for challenging the value of a “proper education.” By choosing sports and music production and speaking his mind, they told him that he would never amount to anything. And for a while, those words stuck. Will grew up thinking that he would never be good enough at anything he set his sights on, and he still criticizes himself to this day, but instead of choosing to let those words define him, Will left school to pursue music full-time, as it was the only thing that gave him passion at such a young age.
Giving back and mentoring others is the one thing Will hopes to achieve throughout his career. His willingness to help others gives him a rush, even more than the one he gets while performing. Seeing others succeed from his help and guidance is part of the reason why he started Bourne Recordings, and why he wants to be a mentor long after his DJing career. In his eyes, serving as a person to help guide a younger generation of producers who deserve to be seen, helps benefit the entire dance music community, which is what this scene should be about.
A lot of these feelings come from his interactions with fans, whom he tries to meet and talk to after every show. Will recalls times where people have come up to him and expressed their gratitude, as his music helped to save them from dark times. “I can think of 2-3 times where people have come up to me and said that they were depressed or wanted to kill themselves but my music helped. I get really shocked and I’m very, very appreciative that I was able to do that for them.” These people have impacted him so much that Will partnered with Electric Family to create a charity bracelet for BeyondBlue, an Australian organization working to raise awareness for anxiety, depression, and suicide (you can purchase the bracelet here).
While people admire him and want to be like him, Will admits that the DJ life isn’t all that glamourous. For the king of bounce, it’s lonely at the top. Will spends eleven months out of the year touring, with few days off in-between. A life of hotel rooms, airports and travelling with just his tour manager has already begun to weigh on this 22-year-old. Staying fit and focusing hard on his music has helped keep him from quitting, but the idea of walking away from it all and going home to his friends and family flashes across his mind every day.
It’s definitely the hardest part. I say you know what, this isn’t what I want to do, this isn’t the life I want to lead if it’s going to be like this constantly; but I stop myself and I think, no, you have to do this for now. It’s going to get better, just keep going.
Will knows that making these sacrifices, being away from his family and friends and living a life of near solitude will be worth it in the end. Even in just three years, he’s helped pioneer a movement of music that’s taken him from bus tours with Joel Fletcher and Timmy Trumpet, to mainstages at Made in America, Stereosonic, and now his own label. Not to mention…he is the #1 DJ in Australia (voted by inthemix) and has his own documentary series ‘Let’s Bounce’ on MTV in Australia. And that’s just the beginning. When talking about the future, Will immediately lights up. As the world clamors for the next big thing for Melbourne Bounce, he’s confident that his new music will be the answer. His eyes are set towards the sky, to crossing over and hitting mainstream radio with something fresh and exciting. Will wants to continue changing the industry, eventually with less shows and more impact with live elements like guitars and drums (just don’t ask him to sing live…it’s never going to happen. Ever.).
It’s hard to believe that someone like Will Sparks is only 22. His level of humility and dedication, as well as his beliefs for a stronger community, ages him by at least six or seven years. Though, the King of Bounce is ready. With strong convictions, a selfless attitude, and a good head on his shoulders, Will is ready to prove to the world that this king’s reign has only just begun.
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