Without blues and soul music, I would probably not be making music. Therefore you wouldn’t be hearing anything about me, and that alone for me shows how important diversity in arts are. It’s what drives a lot of genres that shape pop music, and so much of it originally comes from r&b, blues, and soul music.
As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Will Wolfe.
Talented artist Will Wolfe is making a name for himself out of Oakland, California. Writing, playing, recording and producing everything himself, Will had an incredibly productive 2019. Releasing singles every few weeks throughout the year to gain traction for his LP “Back Seat Drive”, Will Wolfe is as ambitious and independent as they come. A singer/songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist, and kid at heart, he has swiftly amassed a large fanbase and following.
Fast forward to 2020 and amidst a global pandemic, racial uproar and a changing musical landscape he just dropped his second LP; entitled ‘Something for Everyone’ the album is a kaleidoscope of Odd, crass, light, aromatic feels — the combination in the soup of the Universe, shines like no other in the lead single ‘Find Out For Yourself.https://content.thriveglobal.com/media/bf2a3c22b2f05d94802f9d4c047c1734
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I was born in San Francisco, and was raised there for a few years before moving across the bridge to the east bay. I wouldn’t say music played a huge role in my life growing up, but once I started playing guitar as a kid it began to really grow on me. I was definitely surrounded by good music that I was hearing, but it wasn’t until later years like age 15 when I started to really enjoy the blues and began to understand that music was going to be my thing.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I would say playing guitar in bands as a kid definitely made me realize I loved playing live, and just making music in general. But for so long I was only a guitar player, and when I eventually began writing my own stuff, there wasn’t a singer around to play with so I just figured I’d do my best to find my own voice. That was a big step in being able to get complete freedom within my own creative process.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
There was one show I was playing in high school with a band (I was the guitarist), and right as we are starting soundcheck, my main guitar just stopped working. (A wire had come loose inside). And this is my number one guitar, the same white strat I built, and have now recorded 2 records with. So I was very stubborn about still playing this show with it rather than just using one of the many other guitars available. So about an hour or 2 before the show starts, I drive out to Berkeley, to get to Subway Guitars (also known as fat dogs guitars) to make the quick repair before the set started. Luckily I made it back in time, but in hindsight that was not a smart choice. I got very lucky with traffic I guess.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I was first teaching myself production, I was too scared to even attempt to play bass. So on a few songs on my first record, the “bass” is actually just my Stratocaster with an octave pedal, which basically makes every not you play on guitar, an octave lower. Pretty embarrassing to admit, but it did the job I guess.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I’m working on some video stuff for one of the songs and will be sharing that soon. As well, with all this extra time, I have started some new songs, and definitely can tell what kind of record I want my next album to be. It’s coming out very clean so far, and am excited to stay within the creative space I’m in right now. It’s working well.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
I think it’s super important. Without blues and soul music, I would probably not be making music. Therefore you wouldn’t be hearing anything about me, and that alone for me shows how important diversity in arts are. It’s what drives a lot of genres that shape pop music, and so much of it originally comes from r&b, blues, and soul music.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
I would’ve told myself to wait a bit longer on my first album. I also would’ve told myself to start with some singles, rather than a full LP. I have about a million production tips I have since learned, and would’ve loved to teach my younger self. But other than that, it’s nice to see personal growth. And I feel like listening back to old songs can be rewarding in the sense of “what the hell was I doing”
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I would tell people to do things that will last in the long run. It’s better long and slow, than short and fast. That can be applied to many things in the music industry, but it basically means don’t do something for a quick boost, even if it’s a big one. Instead do the thing that will help you grow at a realistic speed, and over longer periods of time.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I love the idea of a 100% free music festival. I think a lot about the stuff the Grateful Dead would do in golden gate park. So similar to that, but on a larger scale, yet obviously not too large. Or perhaps there’s a small ticket fee but it all goes to an organization in need. Anything that can let music help, and not go into the festivals pocket, would be sweet.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Don’t wait for anyone to tell you go.”
For me that meant don’t wait for studio time, record in your bedroom. Don’t wait for a session musician to come over, learn piano, learn bass, play the drums. I was done waiting for people, and wanted to be on my own time creating what I wanted. And there is a great freedom that comes with that.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Absolutely. John Mayer. He’s one of the reasons I started seriously playing guitar, and is a huge inspiration to me, not only as a songwriter, but as a thinker. He is such a master with words, and that is heard in his lyrics. I’d love to talk shop and jam with him.
How can our readers follow you online?
YouTube @Will Wolfe
Spotify / streaming @ Will Wolfe “something for everyone”