Sydney is home to one of Australia's greatest music industry assets. He is an international DJ/Producer with chart topping songs. A record label owner. He is personally responsible for some of our favourite international acts touring Australia and he has collaborated with the likes of The Game, Bone Thugs n Harmony, Pretty Ricky and Bow Wow to name a few. His name is DJ Willi and he is our first Australian Major Leaguer.
We did some research on William Youssef and found out that the man was booked for his first club residency at the age of 17. So while we were all using fake I.D.'s to get into clubs at this age, he was getting paid to be there. Yeah, we know, it's a pretty cool accolade.
In 2015 he released his debut single featuring Bow Wow titled "Too Real". The song was featured on MTV Australia and New Zealand, peaked at number 2 on the Australian R&B iTunes charts and charted around the world including on HotNewHipHop.com.
He then released "Your Body" Featuring Kennyon Brown and Fortafy followed by his most recent release, "All About You", featuring The Game and Kennyon Brown. By now, you can see why DJ Willi is not only touring the world regularly but also being talked about for the way he is raising the bar for urban music in Australia.
We had the pleasure of having a quick chat with him. Read his interview below.
1. Tell us about your first DJ residency, how was it being 17 and right in the middle of the Sydney night club scene?
Being 17 and having a residency at Tank Nightclub which was a very popular nightclub at the time was pretty surreal, even though I was underage a lot of my friends at the time were all freshly turned 18 year olds so being able to control the music and atmosphere for thier early clubbing days was crazy!!
2. You've collaborated with a lot of major artists, congratulations! How did you meet Bow Wow?
Thank you!! So in 2015 I reach out to bow wows mother and Aunty who were looking after his bookings at the time and locked him in for 8 shows across Australia. Whilst on tour we formed a friendship. I didn't actually tell him I was making beats till like the 4th day into the Tour we were sitting on a plane next to each other and I asked him if he wanted to get into the studio whilst he was out here, he was like hell yeah! So I go ok I got few beats I can show you.. "he was like damn willi you a producer too haha" literally the first beat I showed him. He was like yeah I fuck with this! And that beat ended up being my first single with him TOO REAL in 2016 we linked up again and recorded 3 more records which will be on my debut album!
3. You also tour international artists, how do you balance the switch between your own artistry and handling business when it comes to it?
I do this full time, so my Monday to Friday 9 - 5 hours are spent organising the tours, events, promotions etc and after hours I'm usually in the studio working on my music and doing shows on the weekend but personally I feel like it all works hand in hand and if no one was gonna give me the opportunity I wanted I was gonna create that opportunity for myself and put myself in the best position to keep moving forward with my artistry
4. Of the three singles you have released so far, do you have a favourite?
I really still don't get over listening to too real with bow wow and your body with Kennyon brown even though I think I've listened to the tracks more then anyone haha, but my current favourite track is on the unreleased album
5. What are your top 5 Hip Hop/R&B songs right now?
Umm right now... PIE Chris brown and Future, Issues Meek Mill, Wild Thoughts Tory Lanez & Trey, That Far 6lack, Self Made Bryson Tiller and I'm still not over unforgettable French Montana
6. How do you see the Australian Hip Hop scene panning out over the next five years?
I can only see it getting bigger and better, it's already come so far in the past 5 years, I believe we as individuals need to challenge ourselves, invest more time and money into our artistry and take it to that next level because the major labels are lacking and stuck with old artists and the wrong visions they aren't taking the risks and investing money into new upcoming artists so we need to do it ourselves and that's what I'm here to do.
Look at the states compared to us what dj producers do we have here making big records with big international names... no one really I'm trying to be that innovator and i can already see I have started something as I'm hearing other Aussie hip hop R&b DJs are getting into production and trying to collaborate with bigger artists which is great for the scene but compared to Dj Khaled, Mustard, Mike Will Made, Drama, Metro Boomin and so many more in the states we are nothing in the overall market!
7. Do we have a release date for your forthcoming album?
Not an exact date, but I would like to have it released either late 2017 or early 2018 but definitely want it out during the summer, it's getting close though I've literally been locked up in the studio for over 2 years now working on it but I'm constantly making it better and better and want this to really be a history making album for the Aussie hip hop and rnb scene!!
8. Do you have any advice for any new Australian artists?
Keep hustling, stay positive, stay humble. Life is full of ups and downs and alot of people don't like to see others doing better then them espically here in Sydney the hate is real! But don't focus your energy on that just do what makes you happy and keep leading your own race against yourself!! It's not a competition
DJ WILLI is bringing Tory Lanez to Australia next month. Click here to get your tickets before they sell out!