A true outsider (“I’ve never fit in anywhere. And I’ve been everywhere,” he admits), Willis Earl Beal entered our world on a wave of intrigue due to his unbelievable story. Born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, he made his way across America in search of the desert, eventually reaching Albuquerque, New Mexico. Desperately alone and sleeping rough, he kept himself company by singing late into the night. He eventually found work and got a place of his own where he set-up a cheap karaoke machine to record the thoughts, sketches and raw soundscapes that would become 'Acousmatic Sorcery'. As he travelled back to Chicago, he left CD-Rs of his music along the way, adding to his debut's reputation as a no-fi field recording.
While Beal recognises the value of ‘Acousmatic Sorcery’, he always wanted to make an album as grandiose as the one that's been living in his imagination. Recorded “everywhere and nowhere” ‘Nobody knows’ is that album – featuring 13 songs that combine Beal's soul baring vocals with sounds and arrangements rooted in everything from orchestral blues to ambient R&B, gentle lullabies to pure cacophony.
‘Nobody Knows’ is a soundtrack to Beal's Nobody ideology. Embracing uncertainty and detachment, Beal has long maintained that "I am nothing. Nothing is everything." It may sound bleak and fatalist but Beal's mantra is both affirming and aspirational, rooted in a contempt for what he deems to be wrongly prized in society. It's more than a valuing of the shadow over the spotlight, and the self over the icon. Instead, Beal says it's "a spiritual odyssey", a plea of sorts to live in the frightening limbo of absolute freedom.