Erick Walls is a Grammy Award winning, and Emmy nominated producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. As a guitarist he has served as sideman to some of the biggest names in the industry. Born and raised in Durham, North Carolina, Erick grew up within a musical family. He developed his musical skills playing in his father’s church, before attending The Berklee College of Music and moving to Los Angeles to pursue of his dream of becoming a professional musician.
His production and recording credits include work with Beyonce, The Black-Eyed Peas, Toni Braxton, John Legend, Usher, and Michael Jackson just to name a few. A highly sought-after guitarist, Erick has logged many high-profile gigs, such as The American Music Awards, The Academy Awards and most recently the 64th annual Grammy Awards. He’s performed at prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall and The White House. Erick is also a member of the Soul-rock band, Black Waat3r.
FIVE MINUTES WITH ERICK
PRS: Over the years, you’ve collaborated with a wide range of artists. What would you say is the single most valuable thing you’ve learned?
Erick: Having had opportunities to work with some of the greatest artist of all time, the most valuable thing I’ve learned is the importance of maintaining relationships. The professional music world is a lot smaller than one might think. I truly believe treating everyone you encounter with respect and fairly is the key to sustainment.
PRS: Do you have any pre-performance rituals, or perhaps a certain piece of gear that must be present at every gig or recording session?
Erick: I try to serve every musical situation to the best of my ability. A big part of that is having as many tonal options available possible. PRS guitars have played a huge role in that. I’ve had at least one of them in my arsenal at every stage of my career!
PRS: Do you remember your first experience with a PRS guitar? What model was it and where were you?
Erick: I vividly recall meeting my earliest mentor, Kevin Wilson at a church in my hometown and him playing a Custom 22 in the 90ʼs. I was immediately hooked! It instantaneously become my dream instrument!
PRS: Historically, who would you say have been the biggest influences on your own playing?
Erick: Growing up playing gospel music my early influences were players such as: Howard Carrol, Spanky Alford, Johnathan Dubose, & Kevin Wilson. As I began to explore other genres I was very much influenced by players like Wes Montgomery, Larry Carlton, Chet Atkins, Paul Jackson Jr., Dann Huff, Michael Thompson, Eddie Van Halen, Jubu Smith, Steve Lukather, and quite a few others.
PRS: Are you currently working any new projects that we should keep an eye out for?
Erick: I’ve been working with John Legend on his newest double album that’ll be released later this year. I’m also working on various TV and film projects that I'll being posting updates about soon. My band, Black Waat3r is in the process of recording a new EP that will also be released later this year.
Below, watch Erick perform in a recent NPR Tiny Desk Concert with Usher: