Billy Grima is an award-nominated singer/ songwriter living in the Caledon Hills of Ontario, Canada. Born in Blacktown, NSW Australia, Billy started writing at a very young age and was singing in a church choir by the age of 8 years old. At 15, Billy moved to Canada and settled in Toronto. His smooth and soulful sound has earned him comparisons to contemporaries Jason Mraz, Ed Sheeran, Jack Johnson and even Bruno Mars.
Billy has 3 albums to his credit: I’m Just Standing , A Little Piece Of Heaven , and his latest, titled Sugar & Cream, produced and engineered by Pete Swann (Glass Tiger’s Alan Connely, Adrian and Justin Lifeson, sons of Rush’s Alex Lifeson.) Sugar & Cream features a tasty blend of pop, rock, soul and Americana, including the first single, “Pleasure To Have Met You.” The album received airplay on more than 100 AM/FM stations across North America and more than 500 stations around the world. Billy is a Josie Show Awards nominee, an Akademia Awards Winner, and a three-time 2015 International Music and Entertainment (IMEA) Award nominee, winning for Best AC Artist.
- How long have you been in the music business and how did you get started in the first place?
Billy Grima: I’ve been in the music industry for 40 years. I started singing in a church choir at the age of 8 years old. Taking guitar lessons at approximately the same age, I found myself writing/creating songs. At the age 13, I had my first original band and never looked back since.
- Who were your first musical influences that you can remember?
Billy Grima: I am a huge fan of TOTO, JOURNEY, BILLY JOEL, SHERYL CROW, SARAH MCLACHLAN, JIM CROCE.
- Which artists are you currently listening to?
Billy Grima: There is so much talent out there and great music. I have been listening to Jason Mraz, Sheryl Crow, One Republic, Tim Mcgraw
- Why the move from Australia to Toronto, Canada?
Billy Grima: I have a very big family. Most of my mother’s side of the family is in Canada as we all keep in touch and have get togethers on regular basis. Most of my father’s side of the family is in Australia
- What are your thoughts on visual media and Youtube? Do think that video is an appropriate marketing tool for your music, and which is your latest video?
Billy Grima: Visual Media and Youtube has played a tremendous part in my music career. I find that this is a great way to share the vision of my story behind the song and the great thing about all this is that , when the audience likes your song/video, they share it. My latest video is “PICTURE OF YOU AND ME” We also just finished filming at the video for my title track song “SUGAR & CREAM”
- Which do you ultimately prefer? Entertaining a live audience or creating songs in a studio setting?
Billy Grima: That’s hard question to answer. Entertaining a live audience has it’s perks as it gives me such a rush to see the audience singing along to songs that wrote. Also watching the audience with tears in their eyes as i sing songs such as “I MISS YOU BABY” makes me realize that they feel the message in the song. BUT as I get older I see myself writing.
- Do you write all the lyrics and music to your songs or do you collaborate with other writers?
Billy Grima: I write on my own but usually once the song is done i take over to Pete Swann my producer/engineer as I like to bounce my ideas and get his input.
8. What is your latest single or album release and where can fans find it?
Billy Grima: My latest single release is “PICTURE OF YOU AND ME” You can find the song /video on YouTube, Yallwire, iTunes, CdBaby, Amazon, Reverberation.
- Which ingredient do you think makes you special and unique as a performing artist in a business thriving with newcomers and wannabes?
Billy Grima: Well I have been told that my music seems to have a bit of rock, country and certain songs a taste of Motown… somewhat different.
- If you were forced to choose only one, which emotion, more than any other drives you to be a part of this tough business. Is it joy, anger, desire, passion or pride and why?
Billy Grima: I would have to choose Passion, because music is part of me cannot get away from it, even if I tried.
- Which aspect of being an independent artist and the music making process excites you most and which aspect discourages you most?
Billy Grima ; Coming out with a new album or single is a really exciting feeling followed by a video. I guess the part that is a little discouraging as an artist, is trying to get the whole world to hear and watch your videos. This is where fans and sponsors can help an independent artist.
- How do you market and manage your music career? Do you have a management team or do you control everything by yourself?
Billy Grima: MTS management who has done a great job takes care of the promotional side of my music career, as for getting shows and concerts that is taken care of by a booking agent.
- Do you personally choose the engineers and producers for your recordings? And how do you find them?
Billy Grima: Yes, I have worked with a few in the past. I choose the engineers and producers for my recordings. I’ve worked with Pete Swann on the latest album “SUGAR & CREAM” and we work well together. We met thru a mutual friend. When it comes to my videos I work with Gregory D De Sousa. He has produced and engineered all my videos. I’ve known Greg for many years as he was a neighbor of mine when I moved to Canada.
- The best piece of advice in this business you actually followed so far, and one you didn’t follow, but now know for sure that you should have?
Billy Grima: One piece of advice that I followed is NOT TO GIVE UP as you will have obstacles in your way most off the time, so believing in what you are doing and not giving up is something that I have followed so far. One advice that I did not follow and now I wish I should have is who to trust in the music industry.
- Do you work with a fixed backing band or do you call in musicians for each project?
Billy Grima: I do have a fixed backing band but I have subs in the case one of the backing band cannot make it.
- Do you consider Internet and all the social media websites, as fundamental to your career, and indie music in general, or do you think it has only produced a mass of mediocre “copy-and-paste” artists, who flood the web, making it difficult for real talent to emerge?
Billy Grima: I think the internet and all the social media websites have made things easier for me as far as getting my music/videos out there. There are no boundaries such as relying on a major record label to put your music out there.
- If someone has never heard your music, which keywords would you personally use to describe your overall sound and style?
Billy Grima: I would describe my music as New Country with a rock flavor and a hint of Motown.
- Which of your awards won so far do you cherish the most and why?
Billy Grima: IMEA ADULT CONTEMPORARY ARTIST OF THE YEAR 2015. This award defines who I am when it comes to my writing and my music.
- As you work your way through your career, which more than any other fires-up your imagination – A Grammy award, Platinum music sales or some other tangible milestone?
Billy Grima: I must say a Grammy Award would be the ultimate, One day at a time.
- What is the ONE thing you are NOT willing or prepared to do EVER, in your quest to achieve a successful musical career?
Billy Grima: The one thing I will never give up is my writing. Writing or humming a melody is like medicine.