Tyrone Wells' fourth full-length album, "Where We Meet," ushers in a new beginning for the critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter. Not only is it his first full-length release since leaving a major label, it signifies his next evolution, embracing both sides of his sound.
Wells seamlessly balances acoustic vulnerability and pop rock irresistibility over the course of eleven unforgettable anthems. Ultimately, "Where We Meet" is the perfect place for Wells to start anew while keeping the same ethic that has won him his loyal fan base from his early independent days.
MS: Hey Tyrone, where are you calling from? I wasn't clear on where you are based.
TW: I live in Chino, CA. Way less cool than Los Angeles (laughs).
MS: (Laughs) Well, that is true. You struck me as East Coast, I'm not sure why.
TW: Maybe that's because the cover of "Where We Meet" is on the Brooklyn Bridge.
MS: Or maybe it's the in-your-face attitude. I get accused of being from the East Coast for that all the time... but I am a West Coast guy born an raised in Washington State.
TW: I was born and raised in Washington.
MS: Really? Where?
TW: Born in Seattle, grew up in Spokane.
MS: How wild. So when did you land in the Los Angeles area?
TW: When I was eighteen.
MS: When were you first interested in music?
TW: I loved to sing when I was growing up. When I was in Junior High I started to think, "Man this would be so cool if I could do this as a job". Then I thought that it wasn't a very likely idea, but I held onto the concept and the dream and here I am, making music for a living.
MS: I've been watching much of "The Voice" this year, way more than I ever paid attention to "American Idol". At least they don't put people on there that can't sing. I feel that is such a waste of my time as a viewer. Tell me, how do you relate to shows like that?
TW: Ya know, I have some good friends that are on "The Voice" this year, actually. Tony Lucca, he's opened for me a few times, and I know some other people, but I think Tony has gotten the furthest so far. More power to them, I think it's just another way to do what we do. You just want to get your music and your voice out there. As someone who has been out there touring, and working really hard and playing literally hundreds of shows every year, for the last several years, it does feel like a bit of a short cut when they get on that show as they have millions upon millions of viewers, just like that. But, that does not always mean ongoing success. I happened to be at a club where one of the winners of "American Idol" was playing and I was blown away that I happen to do as well or better in ticket sales. I couldn't believe it. I'm not saying which one it was.
MS: Yeah, no worries, you don't have to.
TW: I'm not saying I'm better than this person. I'm simply saying that that type of exposure doesn't always create lasting fans.
MS: Hey, and I bet they don't, like you have a song, "This is Beautiful," on "The Vampire Diaries". How much recognition have you gotten for that?
TW: Huge! Whenever I get something on TV or film it's a big shot in the arm. Internationally, I have never toured, but if I did it the people that would show up would be the ones who have heard it on something like "The Vampire Diaries," so that's a really cool thing.
MS: Been on any other shows?
TW: Yeah, if you look at my bio I got a list of something like fifty other shows.
MS: Wow! Let's get back to the Brooklyn Bridge and "Where We Meet," shall we?
TW: I'm excited about it. I think it's my best record to date. It's a labor of love that I have spent over two years making. I wrote eighty plus songs for it, and I whittled it down to eleven, but I did record twenty plus songs of the eighty plus, so maybe another EP or two, or another full-length album this year. I'm thrilled about it and I love the process. It felt really good to do a record independently with a small team, than being at a large label, as I have done a couple of records with Universal.
MS: Oh, Graham Colton did the same thing. How do you feel about going indie?
TW: The parting was really amicable. I was ready to leave, and they were ready for me to leave as well (laughs). So it was good!
MS: Yeah, that's the general consensus of those who have been there, done that. The connections and leg work that happened was mostly done by you anyway, correct?
TW: Yeah, also radio is becoming less and less important. There are so many other ways to discover music. Frankly, that is the one big upside to a major label, they have built-in radio teams, they spend a lot of money bringing a song to radio. That's the one thing as an indie that you miss out on, that whole radio team behind you. We've hired an independent radio team, but, like I said, it has become less and less important, there are other ways of winning fans.
MS: YouTube is a big one.
TW: I just wrote a song with an Asian girl named Clara C. She is a YouTube phenomenon. Most of her videos have hundreds of thousands of hits, a few of them millions of plays. She's only been doing it for two years, but because of YouTube she is selling out venues all over the world. It's just amazing.
MS: I don't know who she is. I will have to check her out.
TW: Yeah, just type in Clara C. and watch all the stuff that pops up.
"Meet" Tyrone at: www.tyronewells.com.