A person who is always travelling or visiting a place for pleasure - that's how William Phillips' name defines his adventures as a musician. And it’s through channeling that freedom that he’s progressed from being one of Hype Machine’s most blogged about acts to a Grammy winning songwriter.
Tourist’s early EP championed an introspective and solitary brand of electronic music, full of melodic emotion and affected vocals. His ‘Placid Acid’ EP oozed electronica; the ‘Tonight’ EP combined woozy R&B with shadowy 2-step, but both had one thing in common: they had next to no intentions for the dancefloor. "That's the thing" explains William, "I write dance music for people who don't dance.”
Last year’s ‘Patterns’ EP, on Disclosure’s Method label, certainly marked some changes in the Tourist sound. He brought in vocalists, in the shape of Lianne La Havas and Will Heard, and suddenly the dancefloor found itself right in his cross hairs. ‘Together' is an emotive deep house track with pitch-shifted vocals and whispers of electro, and the stripped back club-pop of ‘Can't Keep Up' struck a key with his growing fan base.
As a remixer he has helmed huge reworks for Years & Years, Haim, Chvrches and more. William’s musical contributions stretch even further than Tourist, co-writing songs for Jessie Ware, Kacy Hill, MNEK and with kindred writing spirit Jimmy Napes. Together, they co-wrote ‘Stay With Me’ for Sam Smith; to date his most successful single, which scooped a Grammy for Song of the Year and cemented William as a vital new British artist.
But it’s the Tourist project that’s his main focus this year - releasing his debut album ‘U’ in May 2016 – following on from album singles ‘To Have You Back’ and ‘Run’. With a live show already locked in and festivals including Coachella, Glastonbury and Sonar all under his belt, this is the year Tourist picks up the baton of that deep London electronic pop sound and takes it off the scale.