Notorious performance poet and lead singer of Wills and The Willing, Ian Wills has released a touching charity single ‘Mercy’, under the pseudonym of London Country, with all proceeds being donated to Charity. Wills has been surrounded by controversy throughout his life, being the man who attempted to buy Princess Diana’s letters to her lover James Hewitt, whilst also illegally selling copies of Peter Wright’s ‘Spycatcher’ in 1987.
The song is a powerful ballad that speaks candidly about past sins, reflecting Wills’ own personal journey of man determined to turn his life around. Mercy is the first single off London Country’s new album ‘Three Chords & The Truth’, which is set for release next year.
What inspired you to become a singer/songwriter ?
In 1990 I did national sleep out with Billy Bragg, I had always been a fan of his, we spent the night camped out just down from Victoria station, Billy had admired my work as a poet and said I should pick up a guitar. We spent most of the night talking about Woody Guthrie, in the morning as we said adios, he just looked at me and without saying anything he said everything. Later that year I was part of the SeranAIDS gigs at Brixton Academy, he brought Megan Ochs to see me perform poetry in between sets, she said the same to me as Billy had said earlier in the year, from there the journey began.
Why did you decide to release a single for a charity ?
With The Prebendal School being so open to working with me and involving the chamber choir and Chichester `Cathedral, it just seemed the right thing to do. My mum died 6 years ago from cancer and the Macmillian nurses really were angels.
How old were you when you decided to start a career in music ?
My first commercial recording was in 2004 with Trevor Morais, he was 61 and I was 42 , he produced and got the late Alvin Lee to put the guitar riffs on the track. I put it out as ‘Hundred & 3’ on ‘One Little Indian’.
Where do you get the inspiration for your lyrics ?
There is a always some part of me in the songs, the good and bad come out in equal measures, I seem to never forget my failings only my victories as a poet and lyricist. That helps keep me searching and I do write most days, always looking for an answer to a question yet to be asked.
Do you regret any decision you made in your life ?
The one I regret the most was not talking to my younger brother for eight months before he died.
What would you like to achieve in the future ?
To win an Ivor Novello.
With whom would you like to collaborate ?
Liam Gallagher, Johnny Marr &and Darius Rucker.
Why did you attempt to buy Princess Diana’s love letters ?
It was a moment when I was best placed to do so, we all have a mum and getting the letters away from James Hewitt and returning to Kensington Palace seemed the right thing to do.
In what way did you turn your life around ?
In turning my back on violence and crime in my late teens and overcoming my addictions later on in life, I found a strength that was greater than my weaknesses.
Where do you see yourself in the future ?
I know I will always be driven, loving every minute that I can write, perform and knock down walls. My three girls still wanting me not just as their dad, but also their friend, which I can say at this point in their lives I am and long may it continue.
Mercy is a powerful ballad speaking candidly about past sins, whilst the Prebendal School Chamber Choir provides a harmonious backdrop to the poignant composition. The song itself portrays Wills’ personal journey, as a damaged man, clamouring towards the light.
Mercy is now available on iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify. All proceeds from the single will be going towards Macmillan Cancer Support & Chichester Cathedral Choral Foundation Fund.
Mercy Official Video: