Matt Willis

Matt Willis

Willis in February 2007.
Background information
Birth name Mathew James Willis
Born 8 May 1983 (1983-05-08) (age 28)
Tooting, South London, England
Genres Pop rock, pop punk
Occupations Singer-songwriter, television presenter
Instruments Guitar, vocals, bass, drums
Years active 2001–present
Labels Mercury (2005–07)
Associated acts Busted, McFly, James Bourne, Charlie Simpson
Website mattwillis.net/site.php

Matthew James Willis (born 8 May 1983) is an English singer-songwriter. He found fame as a founding member of the band Busted.

Contents

Early years

Willis was born Matthew James Willis in Tooting, London, later moving to East Molesey, Surrey, where he grew up, and later moved to Woking, Surrey.

Willis has an older brother, Darren; their parents split up when Matt was three years old. His mother later remarried and had his half-sister, Amanda, who is an Ambassador for a charity called Whizz-Kidz. Willis has had three different last names legally whilst growing up; Willis after his birth father, this was changed to Woods after his parents split and later changed to Sargent after his mother married her now current husband.

Willis has made it clear that he was a "problem" child, regularly sneaking out of the house by shimmying down drain pipes. He also as a child suffered from brittle bone disease, tunnel vision, asthma and hyperactivity problems.

Willis attended Woking High School after being asked to leave his previous secondary school, before leaving to attend the independent fee-paying Sylvia Young Theatre School in Marylebone, London, where he met his now close friends Lee Ryan, Tom Fletcher, Billie Piper, Jodi Albert, and Amy Winehouse who has openly said that she fancied Matt at school: "Yeah we all loved Matt at school. I fancied him, Everyone did."

Musical Biography

Busted

Willis first found fame in the music industry as one third of the pop-rock band, Busted. The band's bassist and vocalist, Willis formed the band as well as co-writing almost all of their songs alongside Charlie Simpson, James Bourne and Tom Fletcher although the latter was a member of McFly.

During their career, the trio became immensely famous in Britain and began an upsurge of pop-punk popularity. They had several chart successes and released two studio albums, one live album and a compilation of their greatest hits available in America.

The band disbanded in 2005 due to Simpson leaving to pursue other projects.

Solo career

Don't Let It Go To Waste

After a brief stint in rehab after the Busted split, Matt launched a solo career on Mercury Records, releasing singles in 2005 and 2006: "Up All Night", "Hey Kid", "Don't Let It Go to Waste", and a cover version of The Primitives song, "Crash" for the film Mr Bean's Holiday.

After appearing on ITV's "I'm A Celebrity...", Willis decided it was time for a change. Just as he was about to depart on his first solo UK Tour he sacked his management of six years Prestige Management. This later came with the decision to leave his record label Mercury Records. "It's not a simple case of dropping an artist but just that we both felt we had reached a point where we could no longer move forwards."

Second solo album

Matt Willis is in the studio recording his second album. He wrote on Twitter that some songs sound similar to Charlie Simpson's acoustic album Young Pilgrim and Matt's first album. The songs are going to sound different to his debut, Don't Let It Go to Waste, released in 2006, although his debut contained songs of a mature aspect but were still in the mould of his Busted days. He is producing the album himself along with a production team if things go wrong. He is also launching his own record label to release the album on. He has working titles for songs such as "A Strange Dream", "Wondergirl" ("That song is not about girls" he wrote on Twitter) and "Tie Me Down". He also said that the album will be released sometime in 2012, with a release date to be announced soon. He wrote on Twitter that the songs are not personal to him, despite some song titles incidating it should be, confirming that everyone is going to relate to the songs and he wrote that he had nothing troubling him in his mind and is in a very good place now.

West End

As of 12 December 2011, it was announced on the official website for the West End Production of Wicked that Willis would take over the role of Fiyero, the leading male and love interest to both Elphaba and Glinda.

Presenting

Since winning I'm a Celebrity... Get Me out of Here!, Willis has pursued various presenting projects. On 14 February 2007, Willis took his first major presenting role, when he was one of the presenters of ITV2's coverage of the BRIT Awards, alongside Lauren Laverne, Russell Howard and Alesha Dixon. He returned to this role in 2008 alongside Emma Willis and Lauren Laverne. He interviewed Rihanna, Shayne Ward, Adele, Ozzy Osbourne, Kate Nash and many more including Perez Hilton who became very fond of Matt.

Following his success in this, he hosted the MTV Hits night of MTV's Spanking New Music Tour 2007 with his wife Emma, live from the Anson Rooms in Bristol on 21 March 2007.

In February 2008, Willis presented the Red Carpet coverage for the E! Entertainment network, at the 2008 BAFTA Awards, alongside Ryan Seacrest and Emma Willis.

I'm a Celebrity... Get Me out of Here!

In December 2006 on ITV, Willis was crowned 'King of the Jungle' being the winning contestant on I'm a Celebrity... Get Me out of Here! despite going into the final day as the 8-1 underdog against Myleene Klass and Jason Donovan. Weighing 13 stone 2 lb upon entering, he discovered that he had lost 2 stone after being weighed again in the jungle. In order to enter the jungle, Willis was required to bungee jump from a plane. During his stay, in a compulsory bushtucker trial, Willis ate a kangaroo anus, crocodile penis, crocodile eye, witchetty grub, and some sweeties and mealworms to earn a cooked, luxury meal for himself and the other celebrities.

I'm a Celebrity... Get Me out of Here! Now

In November 2007, Willis and his wife Emma Griffiths went to Australia and presented I'm a Celebrity... Get Me out of Here! Now on ITV2 after Willis had won the 2006 series. Following in 2008, the couple were asked back after winning a presenting award earlier that year. Each series lasted over six weeks in Australia during November and December. In early 2009, Willis and his wife did not renew their contract with ITV2 due to the birth of their first child in June 2009.

Personal life

Willis married his long term girlfriend of three years, Emma Griffiths, at Rushton Hall, Northamptonshire, on 5 July 2008. Guests included ex Members of Son Of Dork, James Bourne, David Gest, Holly Willoughby, Ant McPartlin, McFly, Kara Tointon and Heidi Range. OK! Magazine covered the wedding for July in their 632 issue. In December 2007 they took part in their first "press" shoot for OK! Magazine, even though Matt said he did not want to be a part of the whole cycle. In November 2007 Willis claimed to have stopped smoking, which he had done from the age of 11, but has since been photographed smoking.

They have a daughter, Isabelle Catherine Willis, who was born on 20 June 2009.[1] On 17 July 2011, it was announced that they were expecting their second child, due in December 2011.[2]

Rehab

In April 2005, aged 21, Willis had a brief stint for 3 weeks in London's Priory Rehab Hospital for alcoholism. In July 2006, aged 23, Willis was admitted again for a few days to the Priory Rehab Hospital for drug abuse, because he was hooked on cannabis from the age of 13. Matt began to have problems from the drug-taking including physiological and memory problems. In June 2008, aged 25, Willis entered the providence project rehab centre in Bournemouth after a marriage ultimatum, as Willis continued to take drugs and drink heavily. It was reported that a night out with close friend Amy Winehouse pushed Willis too far. Willis took the full 5 week course in Drugs and Alcohol.

On 28 February 2010 Matt Willis was injured in a skiing accident, but hoped to recover over a six week period.[3]

Other work

  • As a teenager, Willis was featured on The Bill & Casualty, both times as a drug dealer, and EastEnders as an extra.
  • Following "I'm a Celebrity... Get Me out of Here!", Willis featured in a succession of celebrity based TV shows. In December 2006, he took part in an episode of Ready, Steady, Cook where he beat fellow "I'm a Celebrity..." contestant Toby Anstis. A month later, Willis finished fifth in a Music Stars Special of The Weakest Link. Bonnie Langford won the episode, having been Strongest Link in every round bar Round 2, in which Willis was the Strongest Link. At the end of the year he appeared with Myleene Klass as a guest contributor to The Big Fat Quiz of the Year.
  • On 13 March 2007, Willis was a special guest on the Glasgow leg of the Radio 1/Chris Moyles Rallyoke in aid of Comic Relief. He performed Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice. Other celebrities to take part in the night included Fran Healy and Dougie Payne of the band Travis, Reggie Yates and Fred MacAulay.
  • As a fan of Big Brother, Willis has also featured on various spin-off programmes for the 7th and 8th series of the show, including BBLB and BBBM.
  • Willis has appeared twice on The Friday Night Project: once in 2006 in an episode hosted by Ross Kemp, and again in August 2007 on an episode hosted by fellow I'm a Celebrity... contestant David Gest.
  • In the summer of 2007, he was a guest at the weddings of both Shane Ritchie and Holly Willoughby.
  • On 8 September 2007 Willis contributed to Ant and Dec's game "Bounce Baby Bounce" on the new series of Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway.
  • Willis was also a Star Guest with Emma Griffiths for the first show of Jordan & Peter Unleashed.
  • In March 2008, Matt featured in an I'm A Celebrity... special of the TV series Ghosthunting with..., alongside fellow contestant Dean Gaffney, and recent contestants Christopher Biggins and Cerys Matthews as well as wife Emma Willis.
  • In May 2008, Matt travelled to New Zealand with Jack Osbourne, Jodie Kidd and John Thomson for the new series of Jack's ITV2 show, Jack Osbourne: Adrenaline Junkie. It was also reported that Willis got a new tattoo, the word 'Emma', after filming had finished, and was later beaten up by a local criminal after having left the set. The show was aired in October 2008.
  • In October 2008, Matt Willis appeared on All Star Family Fortunes with wife Emma Griffiths and her family. They lost to Gary Lucy.
  • In May 2009, Matt Willis appeared on All Star Mr & Mrs with wife Emma Griffiths. They were successful in their endeavours on the show, and won £20,000 for their designated charity, Save The Children, as well as taking home a miniature carriage clock each.
  • In July 2010 it was announced Matt would be appearing in Flashdance The Musical as Nick.[4]
  • In December 2010 it was announced that Matt would be appearing in Footloose The Musical as Chuck.
  • In April 2011 it was announced that Matt is auditioning for a role in EastEnders.
  • In September 2011 it was announced that Matt will be taking over the role of Fiyero in the musical Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. He replaces Mark Evans from 12 December.[5]

DJ

Willis is now re-inventing himself as a DJ and has DJ-ed for many successful club nights in Southend, Glasgow, Leeds and Warrington to name just a few. He toured from January until October 2008. Throughout 2009, Willis made a few DJ appearances at various university summer balls.

Solo discography

Studio albums

Singles

Year Title Chart positions Album Label
UK IRE EU
2006 "Up All Night" 7 29 - Don't Let It Go to Waste Mercury
"Hey Kid 11 42 -
"Don't Let It Go to Waste" 19 44 -
2007 "Crash" 31 - - Mr. Bean's Holiday OST

References

External links


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