The Positive Notes of Tyrone Wells

The Positive Notes of Tyrone Wells
Ryan Longnecker

It seems difficult to find true positivity these days. In a world where crime seems to always be on the rise and polarization is an everyday occurrence, the kindness of the world falls far down on the list of priorities.

Lucky for us we have a light, a shining beacon if you will, to guide us through the darkness—his name is Tyrone Wells. Partnering with his trusty acoustic guitar, Wells seems to always find the silver lining in every situation and keeps the important things, like family, top of mind.

This OC-based singer/songwriter spends his time inspiring the masses with more than his catchy beats too. Wells is also the proud author of an innovative children’s book, The Whatamagump, which features still frame sculptures as illustrations and a five-song EP along with it.

So channel your inner optimist, check out the inspiring words of Tyrone Wells, and watch your negativity drift away.

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How to Be a ‘Late Bloomer’ in the Music Industry
Tyrone Wells: Music always moved me so much. I just loved to sing when I was a kid. Then I started to pick up the guitar in my college years. I was a late bloomer when it came to chasing a career in music. I didn’t get serious about guitar until after college. When I got into music, that’s when I thought, ‘This feels like home.’

The Soul Behind the Sound
I try to be an uplifting voice in a world that is full of difficulty. Emotionally, I’m trying to encourage and uplift. My sound is soulful with acoustic roots and some rock elements as well.

On Standing Out in the (Overwhelming) LA Music Scene
I started making music when I came to California. The way I got my foot in the door was doing a weekly residency at McClain’s Coffeehouse in Fullerton. I played every Thursday night for roughly three years. Then I moved on to a place that was called Plush Café down the street. I was selling CDs outside of my car while booking and selling out bigger venues in LA. It was always baby steps for me—just one tiny step after one tiny step. Then so many labels started showing up to check me out in Hollywood. I got a solid fan base by just playing a ton.

“I’d rather fail at music than fail at my family.”
I think touring is much better with inventions like Facetime, Skype, and Tango where they can see my face, and I can see theirs. It’s definitely a jolting reality to do what I do and be away from my family as much as I am. I’m trying to tour less, so I’m home more. To me, I’d rather fail at music than fail at my family. That’s real talk.

Notes of Inspiration
 I always loved Stevie Wonder and James Taylor. When you come to my shows, you definitely see both of those influences. Their music has always moved me—it’s moved a lot of people. I love their music.

Why “God is the Real Deal”
My faith influences my whole life, so it’s obviously going to find its way into my lyrics. I don’t set out to be preachy at all. I just believe there’s hope, and that God loves us.

Defining Positivity
I’m not a pessimistic person. I’m very optimistic, and I think that love wins. It changes the way I see the world. For me, it’s hard to watch the news, and I’m sure many people are with me on that (laughs). But in the midst of that, there’s still so much beauty. There are a lot of amazing people doing great, kind, and hopeful things. I see there is positivity in the midst of the darkness.

On Performing Emotional Work
I have a song called “Always Love You”—it’s about my first daughter, Aria. I really feel that song when I play it, and I think a lot of audience members do too. It’s a song from a father’s perspective to his daughter. There’s another song called “Carolina Blues”, that’s about my grandpa, Claude, and the legacy he left behind. That one always gets me too.

The Art of Storytelling
When I was playing in coffee shops, I learned early on you might get people watching you that were dragged to your show by their friends. But everyone can enjoy a good story. I found that was a really excellent tool in embracing the whole room. It invites them into who I am as a person.

Advice to Music Newbies
The most important thing you can do is write a lot of songs. When I say, ‘a lot of songs’—I mean a lot of songs. Don’t just write 10 songs, record them, and try to sell those. It’s better for you to write 100 songs, play them live, and see what people respond to. See what songs are really moving the room then record those.

The Bright Horizon
 I’m doing something really cool with an art studio in Portland. I’ve written a children’s book, called The Whatamagump, which has a musical component—I recorded a five-song EP with that. The artwork is second to none because it’s not drawn—it’s actually sculpted then photographed! The book helps kids overcome fear and be brave. I actually have a Kickstarter right now to help me fund this costly endeavor (laughs).

I also just released a cover album. I’m actually going to release two cover song EPs. I’ve recorded 10 songs that are reimagined cover songs—they are totally different from the originals. I had such a blast doing that.

Tyrone Wells performs at The Coach House, Sunday Nov. 20. $20. For full details, click here.


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