Tyrone Wells: Music Extraordinaire

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The singer-songwriter genre may be the in-thing these days but Tyrone Wells has been in the singer-songwriter game before it became a fad. The Spokane native has achieved tremendous success with his music throughout the span of his career; with a headlining U.S. tour and a new full-length album in the works, he is set to soar to new heights this year.

Tyrone's music has been featured more than fifty times in movies and television shows such as The Vampire DiariesGrey's Anatomy, and One Tree Hill. Having topped the iTunes Singer/Songwriter charts multiple times with a 2010 EP and two 2012 albums (yes, two albums in the same year), it goes without saying how wide an audience his music has reached and inspired.

Next month, Tyrone will release his next studio album Roll with It. "It’s a very upbeat record with the exception of just a couple of songs," he revealed in an exclusive interview with Musichel, adding that it will surprise his listeners in a good way. Just one day after the release of Roll with It, Tyrone will embark on a headlining 32-date U.S. tour that begins in San Francisco, CA and ends in Anaheim, CA on May 16. 2015 is shaping up to be a very exciting year from Tyrone!

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a 6'4" white, bald guy named Tyrone. I've been writing, recording, and performing music for a living for about ten years now. I still pinch myself that this is my job. I’m originally from Washington State. I married a girl from Hawaii and we now live in Southern California. We have two little girls named Aria and Ireland. I really dig being a husband and a father.

You're about to embark on a two-month U.S. tour. Which city are you looking forward to most?
I always love playing in New York City. You just can’t beat the energy and international feel of that city.

What are your favorite and least favorite things about touring?
Favorites would be playing my songs live (especially the new material), seeing this beautiful country (even if it is for the tenth time), connecting with my band and crew on the road, and the fans. Least favorite would be being away from my family, friends, and community that we have here in California.

Your new album Roll With It is slated for release in March. What can we expect from it and how will it be different from your previous work?
I really think Roll With It is going to make people feel great when they hear it. It’s a very upbeat record with the exception of just a couple of songs. Sonically, I am so stoked about how the record has shaped up. I can’t wait for people to hear it! A lot of my previous records have centered around the acoustic guitar, but Roll With It has a wider sphere of fuel for the creative fire. The creative process looked different this time and I think the record will surprise a lot of my listeners in a good way.

You have released albums both independently and through major labels. How different is it working independently and working with a major label?
For me, it honestly has not been all that different. When I was with Universal [Republic Records] for [a] couple of records, the label pretty much let me do my thing. I think this is because I’m a singer-songwriter that was already doing my own thing for a while with a decent measure of success. I think when a major label is trying to break a new "bigger than life" pop star, they are a lot more hands on and inserting themselves into every little decision. With me, Universal pretty much just funded my recordings and then released it to the world. It was a good experience, and not much different than my reality before them and now, after them. Except of course, I’m investing my own money into my recordings and then releasing my music independently. Which I don’t mind at all… It’s sort of like betting on yourself. Actually, my most successful release to date has been one of my independent records (Metal & Wood), which I released after Universal and I parted ways.

Your music is really different from what we hear on the radio—in a good way. How do you feel music in general has changed over the years and how do you keep your music so fresh and different?
Thanks for saying that! I don’t think that music has fundamentally changed all that much. As the saying goes, I feel like there’s really “nothing new under the sun”. A great melody and lyric is always going to interest people whether it’s sung over a bed of drums and bass, or a full rhythm section with an orchestra. When I write a song, I’m just trying to make something that feels good, says something that matters, and has a melody that sticks with people.

What would you say has been the highlight of your career thus far?
It’s really hard to name just one. There are many things I’ve been pleasantly surprised by in my career: having several of the records I've released reach the #1 chart position on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter chart, signing a major deal with Universal, having 50+ TV/film placements. These are some highlights... But honestly at the core, I’m just so grateful to do something I really love for a job.

Roll with It by Tyrone Wells is now available for pre-order on iTunes. Upon purchase you will receive an instant download of four tracks off the album. The full album will be released on Mar 17, 2015.

Photo credits: Ryan Longnecker

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