Will Paquin is a talented musician, songwriter… oh and he’s on TikTok

His new song “Now you know” comes out today

This is a screenshot from one of Paquin’s Guitar tutorial for “Chandelier.”

Sometimes when you’re mindlessly scrolling through videos on your phone, you stumble onto something truly interesting. Not stupid, or cringe-worthy but a new sound, like the original tracks and cool covers from Will Paquin.

People have defiantly responded to Paquin’s spank-y, yet subtle rhythm guitar and lyrics that you might catch yourself singing while you do the laundry. His first single, “Chandelier,” garnered attention from a TikTok that reached 4.6 million views. The song went on to get over 4.3 million plays on Spotify. 

I reached out to Paquin to see what inspired his latest single “Now you know” (which comes out today) and his music aspirations in general.

Your second release comes out on Feb. 19. What incited you to make this new single?

It’s kind of an unpleasant story, but I did a bunch of dumb stuff one night and passed out while I was standing up. I fell straight on my jaw and destroyed eight teeth and fractured my jaw. This was about 2 months ago. I wrote the song about that experience, particularly about when I came back to consciousness:

“Was it part of the plan, to fuck it up so bad, sorry mom and dad nothing this good could ever last got teeth made of glass and a table made of steel.” (From new song)

That’s kind of what was going through my mind at the time, I wrote the whole thing after I got the hospital bill. It’s funny cuz’ it actually physically hurt to record the song so I sound pretty angry which I think is fitting.

An aspect of yours that I admire is your ability to sing and play complicated guitar riffs, like Covet or even Nick Drake. Where did your desire to perform like that come from?

I always wanted to sing and play at the same time. Another hero of mine is Townes Van Zandt, whose voice I pretty much just try to copy (to little success). Something about just standing alone playing and singing are very appealing to me. There will definitely be a time and place for a band in the future; but for now, I just want to be alone with it. 

What/who sparked your interest in fast, technical guitar?

The style I play right now is pretty much exclusively inspired by a couple of samba / classical guitarists. The big three for me are Baden Powell, Toquinho, and Luiz Bonfa. I was playing electric guitar with a pick my whole life, up until around my sophomore year of high school when I found these guys. I started teaching myself how to fingerpick that summer and just built it from there. It was a super formative period in my life. For about six years prior to that, I was killing myself trying to figure out how to rip crazy fast Pat Martino solos. I could never get my left hand to go fast enough and it was frustrating for me. I think that is part of why I was intrigued about the classical style because it is so right-hand dominant. I only recently just started bringing this style over to electric guitar and I think that is what makes my style relatively unique. 

People in the comments always ask for new singles and albums, but are there challenges when it comes to getting people to stop scrolling and listen to a tune?

There was a time I tried to play the “Tik Tok game.” The minute I stopped playing that game was when I started finding success. I don’t bother putting hashtags, I don’t even really play covers anymore, I just make it about my music. I ended up telling myself that what I have to offer is unique enough for people to stop and listen so why bother playing that game, you know? Tik Tok is brutal; the more effort you put into making the video look good, the worse it does, but it can’t look too bad or it will turn people off. I kinda found the sweet spot for my audience and I’m just running with it for now. Always start with the music first – if you think your music stands out, don’t worry about all that other stuff. 

Your TikTocks date back to the beginning of the pandemic. Is it odd to think about how different your trajectory as a musician would have been if touring never stopped?

THANK GOD I DO NOT HAVE TO TOUR YET… I’m already losing my mind enough as it is. That being said, I think about playing live / touring pretty much every day all the time. Touring is a top goal for me, but I am simply not ready. I started posting on Tik Tok because of the pandemic. Without COVID, I never ever would have considered posting little guitar things on the internet. I am a super introverted guitarist, naturally, and prefer to keep me playing confined to my bedroom. Now that things have taken off, a little bit, touring is on my mind daily, but I am just not ready for it yet. I need to write a ton of songs to get a full setlist going. I’ve never really sung to a live audience before, so that is gonna take practice as well. COVID is frustrating, but it is kind of relieving knowing that I have a little bit of time to just do nothing but write music.

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