Billy began playing guitar at the age of eleven. His early musical influences were The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Eddie Van Halen. Billy earned his college degree with a Bachelors of Music with a concentration in classical guitar from the University of Georgia. Following graduation, Billy began his teaching career at several different music studios throughout North Georgia. Through his professional performance experience in many different music genres, Billy’s appreciation for jazz music grew and developed thanks to influences such as Joe Pass, George Benson, Larry Carlton, and Miles Davis.
Billy’s teaching career took him to Truett McConnell college where he taught classical and jazz guitar. He also taught jazz arrangement, jazz combo and jazz appreciation. In addition to being an instructor of music and a active performer in the Atlanta music scene, Billy is an avid song writer and has a portfolio of contracted songs in Nashville. Billy has had the pleasure of working with some of the finer musicians in Atlanta as well as has had the opportunity to open for such acts as Ray Charles, The Ohio Players, Koko Taylor, The Atlanta Rhythm Section, Francine Reed, Jimmy Bruno, Gregg Allman and backed up Michael Bolton at the Atlanta Hero Awards. While with a well known swing band called The League of Decency in the mid nineties, he had the privilege of playing at the Special Olympics, private events during the 1996 Summer Olympics as well as Atlanta Brave entertainment engagements and the Kentucky Derby. With Marea Alta- a Latin Jazz Band, Billy opened for Tuck and Patti at the Atlanta Jazz Festival and performed live on the Peachtree Morning talk show filmed in downtown Atlanta. Billy is also currently playing with Kip Dockery, a local jazz guitarist. The duo is called the Ripchords. An Atlanta native, Billy Wilkie currently resides in Alpharetta Georgia with his wife Lisa and their two children.