As synthetic beats and the same old auto-tuned voices continuously top the music charts, emerging musician and New York native Nicholas Wells hits a high note when it comes to giving the world a taste of his down-to-earth musicality.
With well over nine thousand Facebook fans and his single “A Little Bit” as the most played song on his Band Page, Wells is making his “slow and steady climb” onto the music scene.
After listening to some of Wells’s songs such as “A Little Bit” and “Meant to Be,” I had the opportunity to interview Wells via email, who was more than happy to converse with me about his musical beginnings, his latest work, and his thoughts on today’s music industry.
Songs from his 2010 album “Something To Believe In” can be heard on Wells’s official website.
Q: How was your life growing up?
A: I grew up in suburban New York. I explored the woods in the summer, and built snow fortresses in the winter! I always enjoyed being creative with my time. Beginning piano lessons when I was four years old, I eventually found a wonderful creative outlet in writing songs of my own.
Q: When did music start to become a major part of your life?
A: When I was about nine years old, I wrote my first song. I’m not sure that anything inspired it actually, other than my love for music and desire to create and record a song of my own. It was from then on that I continuously wrote new music. Then one Christmas, my parents bought some recording equipment for my brothers and I since we were already spending most Saturday nights jamming together. I started to record all of my songs, and now today I have a gigantic collection of all of my recordings from when I was about ten, up until now. It’s kind of fun to listen back to
a song I wrote and recorded when I was twelve, and put myself back in those shoes for a moment.
Q: Was music everything to you from the get-go, or did you ever picture yourself pursuing some other sort of career?
A: I always knew that I wanted to be in a creative field. In addition to music, I’ve always been interested in film and creative writing. As a kid, I used to write and film movies with my friends or brothers, and then write the scores as well. Over the years though, I started to focus most of my creativity in songwriting, as that seemed to be my biggest passion. Eventually it came down to realizing that I couldn’t see myself pursing any other profession.
Q: How/when did your music career take off?
A: I’m not sure that I can say that my music career “took off”, as it’s been more of a slow and steady climb. I think it really started to move a couple years ago though, when I first started posting YouTube videos of my new songs and keeping in touch with a growing fan base on Facebook. It really was exciting to get a lot of hype about the upcoming album that I was working towards releasing.
Q: What have been some of your musical accomplishments this far into the game?
A: So far, in addition to my latest album “Something To Believe In” (2010), I’ve released one other album “This Life” (2005) and an EP “Somewhere Down The Road” (2008). The new album “Something To Believe In,” though, was the first album recorded in a studio. The other two releases were actually home recordings, and I kind of see those recordings as demos now. I plan on eventually releasing studio recordings of several of my favorites from those two.
Q: Your most recent work is the 2010 album, "Something to Believe In." What can you tell me about the album?
A:“Something To Believe In” is my first studio album. I started it in the fall of 2008, actually. At the time, a good friend of mine from my studio production program [in] college had mentioned that we could record live drums on my new home recorded songs at the studio where he worked. One thing led to another and suddenly we were replacing my keyboard tracks with live piano and recording electric guitars with a variety of awesome amplifiers. We decided that we wanted to continue and record a full album. At that point, I had done a little promotion of my previous work, and had a small online following. I decided though that it was time to really
begin chasing my dream.
It was about two years from the time I began recording the album to the day it was released. There were countless nights that I drove home from the studio at five or six in the morning. I spent most of my time every day listening to how the tracks sounded, and coming up with new arrangement and production ideas. In that time, it was unbelievably exciting for me to hear my songs coming to life. One of the most exciting days was when we recorded the live string players. I had never heard my songs with real strings on them, and suddenly they started to sound exactly as I heard them in my head when I first wrote the songs.
The title “Something To Believe In” comes from the lyrics to my song “A Little Bit,” which is on the album. The line is “sometimes all I need is something to believe in, a breath of warmer air to help me keep on breathin.’ ” The song came out of feeling entirely lost and helpless in a lot of different areas of my life. Through it all, I always found myself coming back to music. Working on my album and sharing my music with my growing following of fans was something that gave me hope, excitement, and absolute joy, and I decided that my music was my something to believe in.
Q: What is favorite or most memorable songs from the album?
A: I think my favorite song from my album is “A Little Bit.” Even from the beginning, when I first wrote it, I was most excited about it and eager to record it. It was also one the easiest songs to arrange and produce as well, just because everything seemed to fit into place, and it came together on its own.
The song is about feeling completely hopeless, and wishing for any sort of sign or “light at the end of the tunnel” just to know that everything will be okay. I wrote it during a very difficult time. In fact, there was actually a moment one night where I said out loud to myself, “all I need is a little bit of hope”, and then I suddenly had the song. I picked up my guitar and just started to sing those words over a melody and chords that flowed out of me without any thought. I wrote the entire song within an hour or so. It was just one of those songs that needed to come out, I guess.
Q: What is the greatest feat you feel you've have accomplished in your music career thus far?
A: I think the greatest feat so far has actually been my latest album. As I mentioned, it was my first professional studio album, and it was also the first music of mine to be played on the radio. The music on that album also helped me meet a ton of new fans, and I’m planning to meet even more when I take the songs out live with my band.
Q: What is something you feel that most people don't know about the music industry?
A: Maybe the fact that it’s constantly evolving. It’s really nothing today like it was when I was even twelve, dreaming about being a popular artist. I think it’s important for an artist to know this, and adapt to it, utilizing all of the new sharing and social technology to his advantage.
Q: What is one thing you would like to change about the music business?
A: Of course, the popular-music-listening world goes through phases and trends, and right now seems to be the dance/hip hop era. It would be nice if the singer/songwriter style of meaningful and melodious songs made a comeback.
Q: Who are some of your musical inspirations?
A: I’m inspired by many film composers like John Williams, Alan Silvestri, James Horner, and Hans Zimmer. In the pop realm, I grew up listening to Billy Joel and Elton John records, as well as The Beach Boys and The Beatles.
Q: What are you working on currently?
A: Having released my new album this past September, I’ve been rehearsing with several musicians so as to put together some live shows. I’ve also been writing quite a bit of new music, and already have ideas about another album. I think I may take some time to perform a bit more though before starting on another whole album.
Q: What is your description of a "successful" musician?
A: I would describe any musician as “successful” if he or she is happy with the amount of music in his or her life.
Q: Where do you possibly see yourself ten years from now?
A: It’s really hard to imagine where I’ll be in ten years, just because of how much has changed for me in just a few. I just hope that my music career continues to climb and that I never stop writing songs.
Q: What is one motto/quote/song that you attempt to live by daily?
A: It seems to me that the ones who go the farthest in their endeavors are the ones who never give up. It’s possible to lose faith in one’s self at different points along the way, but it’s important to still keep on moving because new and greater things might be just down the road. I think the motto I try to live by daily is “never ever give up.”