April 12th, 2023 6pm Stage 1
Wila Frank makes music that’s searching, cinematic, and introspective with scalpel-like precision. Her songs can clear the air, putting to music emotions that are deeply felt but only rarely spoken. With her debut single Fire, the 24-year-old Nashville-based songwriter immediately sets a mesmerizing mood that showcases her evocative lyricism and tasteful ear as a multi-instrumentalist and producer.
Frank was raised on a farm in a rural bohemian community near the Oregon coast, where she formed a passion for classical and folk music. She learned violin at only four years old, followed by piano, mandolin, cello, and guitar. “I lost my dad when I was 12 in a tragic accident and that’s when I started writing songs,” she says. “I was processing a lot of grief without really understanding what was going on so a lot of my songs were pent-up emotions that didn't know how to express themselves elsewhere.” At 18, she moved to Nashville to record and tour with indie-folk duo Paper Wings and Civil Wars alum, Joy Williams. While folk music and mastering the violin were essential to Frank’s life, her own songwriting led her to entirely different feelings and moods. “Growing up, my identity was completely entwined with the violin and folk community,” says Frank. “But I didn’t want to feel confined by genre anymore. In 2020, I picked up the electric guitar because my dad used to have a punk band with his friends and I loved falling asleep as a kid listening to them practice in the barn.”