“Proper preparation prevents poor performance” is what rings through William Birckhead’s head before every performance, wise words he always remembered from his band director. Like most musicians, Will always had a love for music, but was initially a trumpet player, playing in Jazz, marching, and concert bands through out high school (Milford Mill Academy) and briefly at Morgan State University. Will found a new love in the bass guitar through the introduction of a fellow classmate, Mario Turner. Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Will decided to take his hopes and dreams, a couple of dollars, and head over to Los Angles in 2002 with fellow band mates to pursue a career as a professional bassist.
The beginning was a rough start. Hollywood was not all it promised to be and Will learned quickly you had to hustle hard in this business or you will get overlooked and spat out. He played at local clubs and churches, while developing a skill. He learned during this time to “play the song” as the artist intended for it to be heard. That’s the fundamental that would separate him from most bass players and cause him to find his place in the industry.
After years of hard work, dedication, and never giving up, Will was able to play for the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Kelly Rowland, Hanson, Luke James, Matt Redman, Booker T. Jones, Teedra Moses, Leela James, and many more you probably know. Will still plays in Church at some of the largest ministries in the Southern California (Free Chapel Orange County & Abundant Living Family Church in Rancho Cucamonga).
Will was referred to Nordstrand pickups by amazing bassist Nathaniel Kearney and has been playing them since 2012 exclusively. He uses the NP4 (Fender PBass US62RI), NJ5 Alnico 3 (Lakland JO5 with 2Band Nordstrand Preamp), NJ5 Single Coil (Bassmods K524), NJ5 Noise Cancelling Hum bucking Pickups (Bassmods K524). “All of Carey’s pickups are very dynamic and transparent. They are the closest thing to vintage that you’ll find on the market. On the Jennifer Lopez Residency I’m playing Pop, Hip Hop, Latin, Jazz, and EDM. It handles all of these genres with ease and grace. If your engineer is telling you that they love the tone of your bass you must be doing something right.”
Will in his spare time enjoys producing/engineering, cooking, hiking, photography and video editing.
The Jlo crew is revving up for their upcoming show in the Dominican Republic at Casa De Campo as well as the 2017 Billboard Latin Music Awards. The Next Run of Las Vegas Shows at the Planet Hollywood Axis Theater starts May 24th through June 11th. It was voted the #1 production show in Las Vegas by the “Las Vegas Review.”
He’s also been on just about every Late night TV show including:
- The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (4)
- Jimmy Kimmel live
- The Craig Ferguson Show
- The David Letterman Show
- The Jimmy Fallon Show
- Dancing with the Stars (2)
- The Today Show
- The CBS early Show
- George Lopez Show
- Conan O’Brien Show
- The Mike & Juliet Show
- So You Think You Can Dance
Just to Name a Few…
You can follow Will on his Facebook and Instagram pages