Indie Music Monday

Indie Music Monday | Nicholas Wells

August 2017

IMM – Hello Nicholas! Welcome to Indie Music Monday! Let’s get right into our interview – Can you tell us in a few sentences how you came to be a Singer/Songwriter and Producer?

Nicholas WellsHi! Thank you for featuring my music! When I was a kid, I figured out pretty quickly that making music was all I wanted to do. I wrote and recorded songs all throughout Middle School and High School, always with the dream of becoming a professional performing and recording artist. Writing music helped me through many formative years. I’ve always felt that there was just no other option, and I put all of my time and strength into working with as many people as possible, on every project possible, and always looking for ways to improve.

 

IMM – I saw from your social media you have a new album coming out on September 8th! This is exciting, we always look forward to seeing the Artists we support progress….can you tell us thematically what this album is about?

Yes! I can’t contain my excitement about this upcoming release! The EP is called “Now and Then,” which is also the title of one of the songs. Overall, it’s about time passing all too quickly, and the importance of focusing on the good in our lives. Each song addresses a different aspect of living in the moment, like appreciating the support from loved ones, being there for those you love in times of need, accepting change and moving on from the past, and finding the strength to pull yourself out of even the deepest rut. The arranging and production of the album was about a year and a half of extra tedious care and love. I’m just so proud of it, and can’t wait to share it.

 

IMM – Which is your favorite song off the new album and why?

It’s hard to pick a favorite, because I love them all for different reasons. That being said, I think I’m a bit partial to “Waking Up At The End.” It most heavily reflects the overall theme of the album, and is most representative of where I am right now in my life. I’d been getting this strange feeling, like “why am I here in the future already?” There’s all those “somedays” that you plan for, and they can take you by surprise when they arrive. After watching friends of mine start to have kids, generations changing over, and also the recent loss of loved ones, I wrote this song to express my fear of wasting time. Writing it kind of spurred on a conscious decision to change the way I focus every day on life. I’m trying not to keep my head down in my work too much, or put important things off, because I don’t want to keep looking up every couple of years and realize I haven’t been taking it all in.

 

IMM – Has anyone in the industry heard the new music yet? If so, what was their feedback?

I have a lot of friends in the industry that I like to run my stuff by before releasing it. Everyone’s been sending back some seriously exciting feedback. It’s one of the reasons I’m so eager to release it.

IMM – Who have you collaborated on with this album in terms of a ‘team’?

I spent about six months putting together arrangements and ironing out exactly how I wanted these songs to come across. As I always do, I then got together with my good friend Mikhail Pivovarov, with whom I’ve co-produced all of my other albums (as well as countless projects/recordings for other artists.) We have such a comfortable dynamic, and we’re both such perfectionists. We worked tirelessly on the production of this EP. The rest of the band and string section on the EP is a wonderfully talented group of friends that we’ve been doing a lot of recording/playing with.

IMM – I noticed on a page post you mentioned that the album has been a year and a half in the making. Can you tell us what the process was like for you in creating this album and why it took as long as it has to release?

Nicholas WellsAbout six months of the process was me in my home studio setup, throwing arrangement ideas at the wall. Some songs ended up with several different production directions, and I wanted to really see what was right for each song. We started tracking last August and finally finished up the masters this June. One of the reasons it took so long was simply because there is a LOT happening on this EP! One song has an 80 voice choir (which we achieved by overdubbing a smaller group of singers), and another with a 60 person string section. There was definitely a lot of planning, and every bit of the production and sounds that were chosen were completely intentional. I think one thing that unfortunately delayed us a bit though was that we were tracking final vocals through the Winter, and there was a period of time where I pretty much had a head cold on and off for like 3 months.

 

IMM – What age range is your most loyal fan-base?

The super loyal fans definitely vary in age! I would say generally my music appeals the most to people between the ages of 25 and 45.

IMM – What country or countries are your most loyal fanbase located?

I think it’s heavily concentrated in the U.S., but I have some very loyal fans in the U.K. and Europe.

IMM – Do you have a ‘go-to’ team in terms of your videos or even your promo campaigns? Who would you like to give a shout out to?

Actually, aside from my video “Empty Coffee Cups” which was directed by Jaclyn Gramigna, I’ve been shooting/editing all of my videos. Mikhail is behind the camera a lot, helping me as well.

IMM – Which radio stations or internet radio shows would you like to give a shout-out to for spinning your music?

There have been several great supportive stations playing my music! I’d like to thank the Choice Radio Network, Radio Swiss Pop, as well as American Veterans Radio!

 

IMM – We see you have a couple adorable furry family members! They are even a part of your next video…can you tell us more about that?

haha yes, Kate and Leo! Kate came from the rescue shelter with a different name, except it was my mom’s name…so I thought that might get weird. I’d been struggling still from the grief of losing a cat about a year and a half ago. This past Winter, a feral cat started showing up on my deck. Through the rain, and the snow, it would show up every morning to eat the food I’d leave out for it. It made me realize that whether or not I felt strong enough to move on after the loss, there are still cats out there in shelters that need homes. I went out and adopted Kate and Leo, and I feel an incredible amount of joy knowing that their lives have been changed for the better. It was part of digging my own self out of a dark time and making a change. I figured I’d feature them as part of an upcoming music video for a song called “What I’m Here For.” I wrote the song for someone special in particular, but I thought that the theme of being there for someone is so universally applicable that I wanted to demonstrate it in a slightly different way.

 

 

IMM – Where do you think Spotify is in terms of being the ‘platform of the future’ for musicians?

I think Spotify is a very powerful platform for not only music enjoyment, but for music discovery. Their recommendation algorithms for Discover Weeklys and other playlists allow for lesser known artists to be exposed to a large audience of eager listeners. It’s also much easier to ask a brand new listener to simply check out a song in a playlist than to ask them to buy it, which is another way that Spotify allows artists to expand their audience.

IMM – Have you ever had a negative experience in the music industry? If so, how did you overcome it?

Rather than point to any particular experience, I’d say that there have been disappointments. Sometimes people let you down, or opportunities don’t work out the way you’d hoped. I persevere by remembering what I love about what I do, and what really matters to me.

IMM – Can you tell us about your most positive experience in being a musician?

One of my favorite things is just all the friendships. Not only in my own band, but other artists I play with and work with in the studio; the musician community is a fun-loving, hilarious group. I have so much fun just hanging out with everyone, traveling and discovering new places, and of course playing music.

IMM- What do you think is the most important action Musicians can take in showing their support for other Musicians in the industry?

I’d say taking more of a collaborative approach than a competitive one. I don’t believe that there is a maximum capacity for bands with good songs that can exist, so it’s only beneficial for everyone to work together.

IMM – What instruments do you write your songs on?

Mainly Piano…and few times guitar.

IMM – I read that you have performed with Adele….can you tell us a little more about this experience and what you took from it?

It was pretty awesome. I sang backup to her along with several other guys during her Radio City NBC special. It was an honor to not only perform with her, but with every other amazing musician on stage. I like to think of my career pursuits as an unpredictable adventure, and this was just a moment that I had to stop and take a picture, so to speak. I took from it the image in my head of 6,000 audience members looking on, as an orchestra was elevated on a riser behind me…

IMM – What do you think is the most important thing young or new musicians should know when entering the music industry?

I think it’s important to recognize that everyone inherently takes a different path throughout their careers in the music industry. It’s just not as easy as doing exactly what someone else did to become successful. There’s also the fact that the industry is an ever-changing climate. Knowing this, it’s important for young/new musicians to work hard at what they’re best at, and the right opportunities will open up for them.

IMM – What do the next three to six months look like for you in terms of tours?

I’ll be setting up a series of shows down the East Coast. I’m hoping to get out across the country a bit more, but also I’ll be planning a lot of online in-studio live-streaming concerts! At this point in my career, I can’t really do a world tour, however what’s great about those live-streaming shows is that I can still reach people in other countries!

 

IMM – Can you tell us three things about yourself that no one knows about?

Haha, I’m not sure there IS something that NO one knows. I try to put it all out there. It’s all there in the subtext of my lyrics, whether or not I’ve told anyone. This new EP in particular is especially personal.

IMM – Do you write all your own music?

Yes, 100%. Songwriting has always been my go-to outlet for expressing the things that I can’t contain. The music is so personal to me, and it’s a way of wearing my heart on my sleeve that’s comfortable to me.

IMM – What do you consider ‘being successful’ in the music industry?

The more I’ve immersed myself in the music industry, the more my answer to this question has changed. Honestly, I think the ultimate form of success is being happy.

 

IMM – Alright, final question: Can you tell us what your biggest or most memorable fan moment was where a fan blew you away with feedback?

There have been many moments, and many people who have blown me away with feedback and support. I appreciate it so much.

There was one time a while back though, maybe 8 years or so, when a fan on Youtube/Facebook invited me to play a private party. Really what blew me away at that time was when I showed up and started playing my original songs, and everyone who I had never met was singing my lyrics back at me. That was a memorable first.

 

Thank you Nicholas! We look forward to hearing the new album!

Thank YOU, it was a pleasure, and I can’t wait for you to hear the new music!

WXCI : In-Studio Radio Interview

Vents Magazine

Hi Nicholas, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hi! Great, thanks!

Can you tell us more about the story behind your track ¨Empty Coffee Cups¨?

“Empty Coffee Cups” is the story of two people, formerly in a serious relationship, who meet up over coffee in an attempt to either find closure, or a way to remain in each others’ lives as friends. The lyrics of the entire song come from someone who had hoped to finally move on, but now realizes that he can’t. The coffee in this situation was symbolic to me, like it was the only purpose left between these two people at this point. The title “Empty Coffee Cups” was my way of saying it’s over.

How was the film experience?

Filming the music video was a great experience. There’s something exhilarating about showing up to a shoot and meeting a whole group of people who are excited to work on your project. It was directed by Jaclyn Gramigna, who actually came up with the whole concept for the video. In the planning stage, we spoke a lot about the inspiration behind the song, and the mood that we wanted to convey. It was great seeing it all come together.

The single comes off your new record Stumbling Forward – what’s the story behind the title? 

In the writing process, and the process of choosing the songs, I had a chance to step back and examine the overarching theme of everything I had written for the album. Each song was inspired by a different impactful experience, and was born out the ups and downs of a very tumultuous couple of years. Some songs are about loss, some are about gratitude, and many are about coming to a matter-of-fact understanding about the way life goes. To me, the idea that we’re “Stumbling Forward” means: we might worry about the future, want to hang on to the past, and sometimes life just seems too hard, but the world always keeps turning, the sun keeps rising and setting, and life keeps moving us forward. The first song on the record is also titled “Stumbling Forward”, and I felt that it was a fitting prologue to the rest of the album. Around the time that I had written it, a couple of people I had been close to passed away. I was thinking a lot about life and death and the significance of everything. There’s a line in the song that goes “and so many stars have stopped burning, but they still light the sky at the end of the day.” This is my takeaway from that period of time. Similarly to how the light we see in the night sky is from stars that have actually already burned out far away, we’ll always still have the memory of everyone important to us even after they’re gone.

How was the recording and writing process?

The writing took place over the course of 2 years or so. It was a very significant time of growth for me, and writing was my outlet. The recording process, as always, was exciting yet tedious. I say this because of the incredible amount of time that went into listening back with critical ears, considering arrangement decisions, and figuring out the right execution and production of each song. Not to mention the mixing. The album was engineered, mixed and mastered by Mikhail Pivovarov, one of my best friends and production partner. We have a long history together producing projects for a lot of artists, and it was great to put our efforts towards something that was so personal to the both of us. During the mixing of “Stumbling Forward”, we refused to finish making tweaks until each song was exactly right. In fact, we only finished making tweaks to it a month before it was released.

But, it’s all been very exciting. It’s always such a wonderful experience for me to see my songs come to life, especially since they mean so much to me. It’s incredible to work in the studio with musicians who dive into the emotion of my music, and contribute a piece of themselves to the songs.

The songs are a collection of singles written throughout several years – so in some way this album is like a diary?

The songs on the album were all written between 2010 and 2013. It’s definitely a memoir of sorts. Every one of my songs is autobiographical. Writing music has always been the outlet that’s come most naturally to me, and has helped me process many of life’s ups and downs. I’ve been writing and recording songs since I was about eight, so now I can type my name into my computer’s iTunes library and listen to a 12 hour journey through my childhood and teenage years. It’s pretty cool to have those moments captured forever.

Does your musical approach tend to change when you are writing for yourself rather than when you are writing for someone else? 

A bit. When I’m writing for myself, it’s usually during or immediately after something that I’ve experienced that’s driven me to sit down at the piano and play. Those songs just flow out so naturally. When writing for others, there is usually some thought and some digging I need to do at first. I try and think about the person I’m writing for, and then try to think back to some experience in my life that would relate to that character’s voice. I definitely find that when I’m writing a song for someone else, I still draw from personal inspiration. There’s gotta be feeling involved.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Mostly from life experiences or realizations that had heavily affected me. I’d be feeling something intense and the way I’d work it out is by sitting down at the piano and starting to play and sing something that helped me get it off my chest.

Any plans to hit the road?

Absolutely. I just played an album release show with my band, we have a couple local shows coming up, and we’re getting ready to book a few mini tours down the East coast. I would love to make it out to the West coast as soon as possible as well. All tour dates will be posted at nicholaswellsmusic.com/calendar .

What else is happening next in Nicholas Wells´ world?

We recorded the entire album release show, and we’re going to put it out as a live album. The set included many songs from the new album, as well as some favorites from my last album, and I would love to share the way we play these songs live.

I’ve been writing a LOT. Not to get too carried away here, but I’m pretty sure I already have a set of songs picked out for my next release. I’ll probably be getting back into the studio again early 2016.