Wells has had much success in his music career over the last decade.
Some of his most popular songs have been featured on American Idol,
Greyís Anatomy, and One Tree Hill. The singer-songwriter, who
was born in Seattle, last talked to us back in 2007 after he released
his album Hold On. Since then, he has become a father, gone back
to releasing his albums independently, and added way more production
value to his tours.
Tyrone recently hit the stage at his Philly gig, he immediately started
with some fan favorites like his hit ďRunning Around In My Dreams,Ē from
his 2010 album Metal & Wood. He then went to introduce and play
some songs from his newest album Roll With It. His new production
really showed, as the band was backlit with some amazing visuals and
lights from LED panels scattered across the walls, and a projector that
threw beautiful designs behind Tyrone while he sang.
March, Tyrone Wells released Roll With It, and last week he
stopped by the World Cafť Live in Philadelphia to chat with us about the
album, his career, and why he could beat you in ping pong.
you mind talking a little bit about the process of writing or recording
the new album?
role with making a record is I just write a bunch of songs, like
anywhere from 40 to 100 songs. I do a lot of collaborating. I like to
co-write as well, and do quite a bit by myself. Then at the end of the
day we just pile them all up and decide which ones we think are worthy
of recording. Thatís kind of the process. Then in terms of producers, we
just looked for somebody that we thought would be great on an indie
budget, but still make it sound like it could rival any record out there
in terms of production quality. We found a guy named Dustin Burnett, who
is in Nashville, Tennessee. He is fantastic and he made a great sounding
record. That process was a lot of flights back and forth from Nashville
to LA. We did some recording in LA at my home studio, and some at his
studio. It was a great process.
has it been like touring this album as compared to previous ones?
definitely has more production, so this is the first time I brought a
light show and just more elements. Iím playing more instruments than I
ever have. Usually I just used to play acoustic guitar. On this tour Iím
playing keys, Iím playing ukulele and then even not playing any
instruments for some songs. Thereís a lot of up-tempo stuff on this
record, so the show feels like it has a lot more energy, which I dig.
there been a certain stop on this tour that youíve really enjoyed so
being from the west coast whenever I play the west coast I always love
it. I tour more on the west coast than out here, so Seattle and Portland
are always amazing experiences. On the east coast I would probably say Ė
no offense to Philadelphia (laughs) because I love playing here Ė
but thereís something about playing in New York. We usually do two
nights at this venue called the New York City Winery, which I really
love. But World Cafť Live in Philly is one of the best venues on tour. I
always love playing here.
Youíve been really big into indie distribution; in the past you released
two albums with Universal, but since then returned to indie
distribution. Could you talk about that? What is so attractive about
releasing your music this way?
just being independent. For me, the best-selling record for me is
actually the record that I released after I was on Universal, which is
really great because then I own it outright. A lot of times when you
sign a deal itís funny, because you usually get a good signing bonus but
then you usually donít see money for a really long time. You have to
recoup all that, and then they spend a lot of money on marketing and
make you recoup that as well. Which I get, but as an artist and a
singer-songwriter it was actually really beneficial for me business-wise
to get off the label and start selling my own music. It was really cool
because they helped up the profile of the music and get the music out
there. As an indie artist, distribution in record stores isnít quite as
important as it used to be. There are still those like me that like to
go into a record store, but very few people buy music in record stores
anymore. They buy it online or they stream it. The game has changed a
lot so there hasnít been much of a need for distribution. We are
starting to work with a company on putting them in certain record stores
across America, but I just feel like for every 20 albums people buy,
maybe one of those is in a record store. So I donít know itís all that
we last talked to you, you became a father. How has that affected your
lot harder to leave on the road honestly. I have two daughters, one is
three, and the other just turned five months. So, just being away right
now, especially with the five-month year old because sheís changing so
much. They both are really, so that just means a lot of Facetime (the
app) and talking to my kids. Also I think it gives your work more
meaning though, too. When I was single working at music I just had
different reasons. Once I got married and had kids, now Iím providing
for my family. It infuses the music in my career with a lot more meaning
and I love that about it. I try to tour more strategically and not be
Youíve had a lot of success having your music being played in TV shows,
whatís that experience like, and having your music reach people through
great. Radio is something everyoneís gunning for but very few actually
hit it at radio. Iíve had some radio success, but not a lot. I have had
a lot of stuff on TV and film. I like it because it just introduces the
music to a whole new audience. There have been times where itís kind of
a weird usage of one of my songs, like this one murder mystery they were
talking about the grizzly details of this murder and one of my love
songs was playing in the background. (Laughs) I just thought,
ďthis is so weird!Ē As an artist and a musician today that is still a
great way to make some really good income. We call that mailbox money,
and we love that they just send you a check.
is one thing your fans might not know about you?
probably donít know that I could beat almost all of them at ping pong. I
beat a famous professional athlete at ping pong once, which was cool.
Heís not a ping pong player, but heís the quarterback of the Steelers,
so I beat [Ben] Roethlisberger at ping pong. He beat me six times and I
beat him once!