Wils is a popular Asian recording artist who brought a voice of change for the LGBTQ+ community in Singapore in 2019 when he came out as gay. On Friday, June 3, he will sing the national anthem at Dodger Stadium as part of The Los Angeles Dodgers ninth annual LGBTQ+ Night. Now LA-based, Wils discussed his career and more via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you discover your love for music and how did you break into the industry?
Wils: My classmates pranked me in high school. They signed me up for a singing contest. I wasn’t prepared and didn’t know how to sing. I ended up picking a song on the school karaoke machine and sang horribly. Everybody laughed at me. I was okay with that because I was the class clown anyway. It was pretty really embarrassing but I took it as a challenge. I taught myself to play the guitar that year. The next year, I signed up for the school singing contest on my own. My classmates were shocked when I sang a really emotionally song, Damien Rice’s “Cannonball.” That was the day I realized that music was going to be part of my life. I wrote a song named “Hola” that unexpectedly went viral and led to my very first album.
MM: How does the music scene in Singapore differ from the one in the United States?
Wils: The United States music scene is much more diverse, especially when it comes to out artists. In Singapore, there is a law that criminalizes men who have sex with men, so being an openly gay artist would be illegal.
MM: Is it tough to be an independent artist in America today?
Wils: I used to see it as tough when I didn’t know how to navigate the industry. But over time, I have come to realize that being independent gives me the ability to decide the creative vision that I have for my art and stay true in the connection with fans.
MM: How did you get this opportunity to sing the national anthem at Dodgers stadium?
Wils: The producer, Andrew Sync from nSync productions, reached out to me and asked for a vocal recording of the national anthem. At the time, I had covid and everything in my body was a wreck, especially my voice! I didn’t want to lose this opportunity so I sent him a recording anyway. It wasn’t my best but I explained the situation and he allowed me to send another recording when my voice recovered. A couple days later, I got the news that I was going to sing the national anthem for LGBTQ+ Night! I’m really grateful for this wonderful opportunity to sing in front of my community.
MM: How tough was it to master the vocal work on the national anthem?
Wils: I have sung the song about a thousand times in order to find the way I would like to present it. I have such a strong emotional connection with The Star-Spangled Banner. It’s a very powerful anthem and gives me a sense of pride like no other song.
MM: What will it mean to sing in front of thousands as an openly gay man?
Wils: I don’t believe I understood what Pride really meant until now. I feel so proud to be gay and I am immensely grateful for my community.
MM: Why are events like Los Angeles Dodgers Ninth Annual LGBTQ+ Night important?
Wils: Having a world-renowned professional baseball team recognize the accomplishment s of our community sends a powerful message of inclusion and unity.
MM: Do you have a special message to fans this Pride?
Wils: I want the next generation of LGBTQ+ youth to know that they are valuable and loved just the way that they are.
MM: What is coming up next for you and is there anything else that you would like to mention?
Wils: Worldpride 2025 will be held in Taiwan. My dream is to collaborate with an artist here in the states so that we can headline the song together in Taiwan for Worldpride!
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To learn more, visit heywils.com