William Robert Empire 

The Smile EP


Now I first came across William Robert Empire after he kindly followed Just Listen To This on Twitter (Thanks for the follow William!) After looking at his Twitter profile, I found that he has released his own EP entitled ‘Smile’ which according to his website ‘is a project designed to bring a smile to your face’.

So firstly a little bit of background: William Robert Empire is from America and before he launched his musical career he was a  pro-football running back for The Detroit Lions. But he always had a passion for music and credits Otis Redding, Willie Nelson and Bill Withers as influences.

It is quite common for people in the sports industry to transition over to the world of music. Some notable individuals to do just this include ice hockey star Guy Lafleur who released a disco album, boxer Oscar De La Hoya whose Latin pop album reached no. 2 on Billboard’s top Latin albums chart and also world famous jazz star Gregory Porter who received a full-ride athletic scholarship to San Diego State University (SDSU Aztecs). A shoulder injury during his junior year of high school restricted his football career.

Anyway, back to William Robert Empire’s ‘Smile’ EP which opens with ‘Arms Open Wide’, a pleasant track with melodic piano and it reminds me of an outfit known as The Lighthouse Family in terms of the vibe and radio-airplay potential. Empire’s voice is soulful and smooth like chocolate throughout but what is incredibly refreshing is that he doesn’t stick to one genre as the country soaked ‘Light When You’re Alone’ showcases his versatility as a performer.

The intro to ‘Old Man’ is upbeat with a solid drum beat as it explains a conversation between William Robert Empire and an unnamed older gentleman as they discuss life and they agree to ‘go find the sun’. It is a beautifully written song that is well-placed on this EP.

‘Money In The Bank’ has William sing us the importance of love and human interaction over material objects. When I was listening to this track I had an idea for a great music video where a group of bank robbers enter a bank and instead of robbing the place and fleeing, the robbers set up an altar and get married in the bank with all of the people in the bank acting as witnesses to the nuptials.

‘Sarah’ is one of those songs about a woman where you go ‘Another song with a woman’s name in the title… really original…’ Now I am inclined to agree, however, the lyric ‘all roads lead to you’ after the chorus ‘Sarah’ is very clever. Although it isn’t my favourite track on the EP, it does make you smile. Well done William.

The closing title track is a toe-tapper and it is perfect to sing along too. I can see this one being very popular at live shows when he tours this new release. In conclusion, William Robert Empire’s songs do put a smile on your face and a spring in your step and I am really looking forward to hearing some more material and also the announcement of some UK shows in 2016.


Glenn Sargeant

William Robert Empire’s new ‘Smile’ EP is out now. For more information visit: http://www.williamrobertempire.com/#