Pop star Willie Tay or as his hundreds of thousands of fans around the world know him, Wils, has found a second chance at international stardom in Hollywood. Despite facing oppression in Asia, Wils has never stopped making music.
The rising star was dropped by his high profile Chinese recording label after coming out as gay and immediately lost all of his followers on social media when they deleted his accounts. In Singapore, there’s a law that make homosexuality a criminal act and there is still a lot of censorship of LGBTQ content throughout Asia.
After years of hard work and attaining success against insurmountable odds, Wils was crushed. But he didn’t let that stop him. Wils told us:
“I’m going to keep loving until the day I die. I’m just going to keep doing that no matter what. My music touches people and makes them feel loved, and I want to share it with the world.”
His story is inspirational and one that has executives and producers in the music industry very excited.
About eight years ago, Wils received a spark in his career that would change his life forever. His record label at the time had sent him to Los Angeles for six months to record music and make a music video. During that time, Wils connected with A-list producer, multi platinum artist and former judge on American Idol Randy Jackson. At this point of his career Wils was heating up in Asia.
Randy was quickly impressed with Wils talent and his massive fan base in Asia. He offered to represent Wils in order to make him a household name in America and together they attended several high profile red carpet events including New York Fashion Week. He did tons of interviews about his music and was even featured on the cover of Men’s Health magazine. Wils took this buzz back to Asia where he attended the prestigious Golden Melody Awards in Taiwan and established himself as a major star in the region. Soon, Wils was performing his hit song at the time Hola in front of 40,000 screaming fans in Singapore’s national stadium.
Life couldn’t be better. There was just one problem. Wils couldn’t be himself:
“My whole life felt like a lie. I became socially awkward constantly trying to be someone I’m not, scared about people finding out, my family finding out. It was a lot of pressure. My relatives would constantly ask me “When are you getting married?” And in my head I was like…to a man?!”
In the music video for his hit song Hola, Wils is seen leaving his girlfriend, entering an LGBTQ nightclub and they all dance together. When asked about these references by his country’s national media outlets, Wils simply deflected it as a bold choice by the producers in Spain who created the video.
Soon however, more pride rallies began to take place in Singapore which made Wils think that perhaps acceptance of gay people and their right to love whomever they want was right around the corner. After spending time in Los Angeles, freely being himself, Wils couldn’t return to hiding who he really is anymore.
He called his record label and said that he is out now and wants to incorporate this into his music and branding. The executives at the label informed Wils shortly after that he is no longer under contract with them, and that if he wants to ever have a career as an Asian pop star that he should hide his sexual orientation. Wils tried to log into his Instagram, only to find that his account with over 400,000 followers had been deleted. No more shows. No more music videos. No more albums. No social media to voice his protest. Wils had his dream shattered in a matter of minutes and he was silenced, all because he told the truth about who he is.
For most people that would be enough to give up and change life paths. But not Wils. Today Wils is in Hollywood about to release a pop-EDM album and has plans to begin touring again in 2021 when it is safe to do so. Check out his video Open Up Babe, the first video that Wils has made as an openly gay artist.
According to our sources several high profile producers have reached out to Wils about collaborating with them. They are excited not just by Wils music but by the potential of the audiences they can reach all throughout Asia and the LGBTQ community.
For more information, follow Wils on Instagram @heywils to stay up to date about Wils music, advocacy and upcoming announcements!
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