Billy Raffoul’s anthemic debut single “Driver” is a potent calling card for the 22-year-old singer-songwriter. Raffoul features a signature sound of rough-hewn and low-timbered rock ‘n’ roll that nods to artists such as Jeff Buckley, Neil Young, and Joe Cocker, powered by a gravelly, soulful voice.
“That’s one thing for me—a song needs to be about something I’ve experienced,” Raffoul says. “I want people to know that the songs have been lived in.”
Growing up in a creative family in the small farming town of Leamington, Canada, Raffoul was certain what he wanted to do from a young age. His mother is an artist, writer, and teacher, and his father, Jody Raffoul, is a solo artist and hometown hero who has opened for everyone from Joe Cocker to Bon Jovi. His earliest musical influences come from his dad. “The Beatles were like Jesus in our house,” he recalls, adding that he also listened to soul singers such as Otis Redding and Sam Cooke.
Raffoul was noticed when gigs singing demos for hire. “One day I went into the studio to sing on some Kid Rock demos. The guys heard my voice in the booth and asked if I had any original stuff. I played them two acoustic songs. They shot an iPhone video and sent it to my now manager, who used to work with Kid Rock. The next day we drove down to Nashville.”
Raffoul splits his time between Nashville and Los Angeles, where, in between playing shows, he has been collaborating with other songwriters and working on his debut album.