The Love Island star on forging his own path in the music industry with new track “See Nobody”.

Love Island's Wes Nelson interview with Wonderland closeup
Love Island's Wes Nelson interview with Wonderland closeup

From the Love Island villa to the X Factor stage, Wes has exploded onto the scene and he’s ready to tackle more. Wes’ debut single “See Nobody” releases today, featuring Hardy Caprio. It seems like there isn’t anything this modern-day Renaissance man can’t do.

Wes sat down with Wonderland to talk about staying on the grind over quarantine, confidence and how he was able to get a Bat-mobile for his music video. With the launch of his solo music career, Wes wants to take the London music scene worldwide with his own brand of rap and R&B. Charge your AirPods, because “See Nobody” promises to be the first of many of Wes’ songs you’ll have on repeat.

Love Island's Wes Nelson interview with Wonderland crouch
Love Island's Wes Nelson interview with Wonderland tip toes
Love Island's Wes Nelson interview with Wonderland crouch
Love Island's Wes Nelson interview with Wonderland tip toes

It seems like you’re one of the few people over quarantine that has managed to get even more productive. What have you been up to the last few months?
Yeah, it’s really been the most productive period of my entire life. I think it’s because quarantine has taken all the distractions away and allowed me to completely focus on what I need to get done, which is music. At the beginning of it, I split with my ex and moved into my friend’s house. I have basically been in my friend’s spare bedroom the whole time making music. At one point, my friend came up and said, “Wes, you do realise you haven’t left the front door of the house for six weeks now?” I didn’t leave the front door because I was just writing and recording all day, every day.

What were you working on?
That’s when I wrote my first debut single, which is out today, in the humble settings of my friend’s spare bedroom. For me, this period showed me how productive and resourceful I can be.

After Love Island and X-Factor, it seems like you were sort of set. Has the dream always been to get into music?
It has been a long term dream and I don’t think I’ve realised how long term it actually was until I sat down and thought about it over the last few months. Music has always been a huge part of my life. Everyone that knows me knows I never stop singing to the point where it becomes annoying. I never stop singing and I’m always listening to music. Alexa’s never turned off at my house. For as long as I can remember, I’ve asked for something music-related for Christmas or for my birthday. “What do you want for Christmas, Wes?” and I’d say “Can I have a karaoke” year after year. Music has always been a part of my life.

What changed that made you want to make a career out of it?
I think what’s happened over the past two years is that I’ve grown in confidence. Before, I was always singing, but only around my really close friends or family. And then, X-Factor came about and they offered me a chance to go on the show. I thought it was a really good opportunity to just throw myself into the deep end and just see what I’m really made of. From that experience and Love Island, I gained so much confidence to just be myself and try music on a new level. There’s no point in just doing something that may be financially rewarding, like television, which has opened so many doors for me, but isn’t something I want to do for the rest of my life.

Was it ever stressful to transition from television to music for you?
My friends were telling me, “You’re wasting your talent. You need to seriously think about doing music.” I had a couple of offers this year to do some huge TV shows and I turned them all down. I felt like it was time to really work on my music. And then I landed my record deal, which has been my dream forever. I’ve never had any other dream other than to be a singer and now it’s finally coming to light. And I think it just shows that if you really knuckle down, you can do anything.

Listening to your song, there’s so many different elements to the type of singing you do. How would you describe your music?
I am trying to set my own little lane at the moment and I think that’s important to have your niche and have your own sound. It’s early on for me and I’m still trying to find my sound, but I want to be able to mix melodic rap with classic rap and R&B vocals all in one song and make it blend.

Do you think the music coming out of London and the more urban aspects of the UK scene has the potential to be worldwide?
Absolutely. I think it’s great that we’re now being recognised for our urban scene, for our culture. We’ve always had it, but it’s just not been put on the major platform before. Now, with social media, with growing interest from the States, I think it absolutely has a chance to break worldwide. It isn’t going to happen overnight, but there’s so many talented artists in the UK right now. British producers have been making some crazy beats, and I’ve seen a lot of American artists using them, like the drill beats. This is just the beginning for the UK and hopefully I can help grow it.

What’s your approach to making a song? Do lyrics come first or is it the music then the songwriting?
I’m more of a music first guy. I’ve done a couple of songs where I have an idea of what I want to write, a lyric or when I’m feeling something at the moment. I built my studio in my house, so that’s just allowed me to be able to be super quick and reactive to my thoughts. I’m usually starting on the piano. With more of the emotional songs, I think of the lyrics first. Then for more of the “get turnt” songs, I have the beat in my head and I put some words down to go with it.

Have you always written your own music or is it something you’ve started recently?
I’ve always written music, but mostly in private. I always used to write things down in my notebooks and perform it in my bedroom to myself like a weirdo. I’ve always been making music, like the pen tapping thing in school. I used to get told off so much for tapping my pens because I was constantly trying to make beats during class. What X-Factor especially allowed me to do was understand how to get music into production. I would sit behind the producers when they were making our songs and just watched everything they are doing. After that, I downloaded all the software and just sat at home to learn how to do it myself. I’ve been doing it for a long time, but not properly. Now I’m really going for it.

Hardy Caprio features on the track, what was it like working with him? Were you a fan before making this song?
I’ve been getting out there over the past two, three years in preparation because I knew that this was what I was working towards. Hardy, I had never met before properly before I showed him the song. I remember Krept tweeted about my songs and I had loads of artists messaging me saying, “Bro, I wanna hear the song. Can you show your music?” And from there, I gave Hardy a call. I said, “Bro, do you wanna hear my music?” I showed him the song and I still remember the reaction. He just jumped up out of the spinning chair and ran across the room. He’s like, “No way! Reload it. Reload it.” He was super gas by the song, one of the best reactions that I got to it. The same day, he wrote his part for the song. He’s the king of summertime bangers in the UK, so to have him on my song is an honour. He’s a great guy to work with.

Is there one piece of advice that stands out that you received over the last couple years as you were working towards this single?
I think one of the most important pieces of advice was from Chipmunk. He was tough on me. He said to me, “I love the song, but now you need to do it again.” And that’s what stuck with me. The fact that, yeah, it’s cool to have a great song, but then people are going to start asking, “So what’s next?” That’s why I just went absolutely mad with making songs over quarantine. It really hit it home for me to hear it from a GOAT like Chip, that I really need to knuckle down and keep going. Consistency is key to being solidified in this industry, especially in the UK. There’s a lot of people that had one good song and two good songs, and then they just vanished. There’s a lot of UK artists and everyone’s hungry. So if you want to be a GOAT, you have to keep banging it out.

I saw you were able to get a Bat-moblile for the music video. How does one go about getting a Bat-mobile?
That’s the crazy thing. The contacts that I’ve built over these past couple years allowed us to get a Bat-mobile, the only one in the UK, in a day. We got the one used in the Christian Bale Batmans, and it is an absolute monster. The music video is a freaking movie. We had all the guys from the label, all their presidents and everyone watching us film because they wanted to see this music video. Hardy was there and said, “Bro, do you understand how mad this is?” But for me, it’s nice to have a really amazing, expensive music video, but that’s not what I thought the best part of it was. It was the fact that the label believes in me and that they’re putting so much time and effort and thought into my music. I am really grateful to have a team that believes in me.

Should we be expecting an album from you sometime in the near future?
We want to take things slowly at the moment. I’m a new artist and I think the right thing to do is release singles first, and get an idea of what’s working well and then do an EP. I want to do an EP for more R&B stuff because that’s what’s the closest to my heart. And then, I think we’ll talk about albums. I want to understand what the listener likes and be wise with it without sacrificing what I want to do. You’ve got to get the balance. But hopefully yes, in the future.

Henry Petrillo

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