Sprinkling tunes with a tingly twang, Wilson challenges his musicianship by taking risks in his career.
The early stages of Wilson’s music career begin with playing in a band for 5 years, accumulating 2 albums.
Then suddenly, Wilson made a choice to challenge himself as a musician and decided to operate solo style. He admits learning how to switch to a solo singer songwriter career was a long process, but his persistence gave Wilson the invaluable knowledge of different outlets for his specific genre. Relearning everything was a definite growth period.
Having released his second solo album Rooted In You in 2017,
Wilson earned the bragging rights (though he doesn’t use his rights to brag) to attest that he produced the entire set by himself, taking another large leap in his musicianship. The sound consists of layered instruments, all played by Wilson, except for the cello, bass, and background vocals. A really fun and wonderful experience, he used his home studio for his album science lab.
Though he had a lot of people warn him it was a bad idea to self-produce, Wilson recognized the perfect opportunity to experience experimentation. Not taking the heavy promo route, Wilson decided to just kind of see what would happen organically once he released it. The album earned some success, so now Wilson’s new musicianship goal is to learn different and unique ways to release new music.
Second album Rooted In You: based around nature, pastoral/rootsy vibe, used organic nature to guide the lyrics, aiming for visceral images while also keeping it simple, working with the senses
Thoughts on writing solo: “Usually I’ll be practicing and then playing; then lyric progression or a lick will come along. And then bam! There’s a song, more or less.”
Thoughts on co-writing: “It’s different because it allows you to write full songs in 3 hours, but co-writing in Nashville me taught that, ‘you say what you mean, and convey what you need.’”
Years in Nashville: For nearly 2 years, Nashville has been Wilson’s home, having previously come from Colorado and lived there for around 10 years.
HOME: Wilson discovered us through meeting Logan at a Family Wash open mic night, and Wilson grew an interest to join HOME. A few months later, he filled out the form, and asked to check it out. This all occurring during the time headquarters was being built, around 8 months ago.
First CD owned: The Offspring, Americana; song—“Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)”
Other inspiring music: Green Day, Real Big Fish, Rancid, 90s rock, Blink 182, pop-punk scene The Grateful Dead, String Cheese Incident, Phish, some Latin world music, old 50s rock and roll, The Temptations, James Brown, etc.
Instruments: Learned to play violin at 5, clarinet and guitar at 9, and banjo 18.
Interestingly, Colorado has a huge bluegrass scene; the mountainous terrain serves as the perfect landscape for roots-y music.
During his time there, Wilson learned how to play the banjo as a freshman in college, with the intent to play with other freshmen who are identically into bluegrass music. In addition to jamming with buds, Wilson also played the banjo for a large number of weddings, since banjos are a huge thing in weddings in Colorado, apparently.
Wilson’s banjo playing experience additionally includes DIY touring both solo and with bands.
Examples of some tours:
Midwest — through Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, and Kansas
West Coast — from LA, to Seattle and Boulder
East Coast — from Washington, D.C. to New York
Not sure if touring was his thing, Wilson packed up one final time and travelled to Nashville to build a studio and start producing.
Unfortunately in the mainstream side of music, banjo isn’t exactly the hottest item on the market.
Amazing artists exist, such as the Punch Brothers, but for the most part, they’re underground. Of course the banjo had its huge moment in the recent past with Mumford and Sons on their first and second records, but fans of the instrument, like Wilson and myself, are hopeful that the banjo will rise again.
For the time being, Wilson’s goal is to compile a library of banjo loops, compatible with electronic music and other genres, to sell to producers in Europe.
Aside from the banjo, Wilson utilizes his home studio for his production company, Elevated Music. Though the extra bedroom in his rental has a lot of bang for its little amount of space, Wilson has slowly begun to use the studio at HOME for some of his projects.
Some names on Elevated Music’s roster include: Claire Kelly, Emma Brooke, and Boyce Thompson.
Admittedly, working synch licensing takes up most of Wilson’s producer time.
Right now, he has 2 agents to whom he pitches songs. The business is super competitive, though not as competitive as gigging and touring; the business requires more patience than anything else. Media synch requires making as much content as you can to sound its absolute best, throwing it out into the world, and then trying to have it land in the right hands.
Having only played in the game for 2 years, Wilson acknowledges the main market is in LA, though it is growing in Nashville. An agent in LA, called MW Music and Wine, represents all of Wilson Harwood’s music as an artist. The marketing company pitches songs to commercials, film, tv, as well as books artists to play for high end wine events.
Reach out to Wilson on the socials and say hi, or offer to collaborate on a project!
Written and edited by Andra Ingram