Summer is almost here, so its time to heat things up! Check out this brand new club banger from Epic Recording artist, Billy Wes ft. Young Money’s Tyga. “Shake that Jelly” which is also featured on the “Think Like a Man” soundtrack – available everywhere now!
Albert Einstein may have created the formula for “energy” in nature, but William Calvin Wesson, a.k.a. Billy Wes, is doing it for music. With songs that range from soulful grooves to Ibiza-ready electronica, the Memphis, Tennessee natives intent is making the masses feel something, whether it’s in their hips or their soul.
“I want people to know it’s all about energy. From Middle Eastern music to reggae, if you break it down mathematically it’s all the same,” Wes declares. “I don’t look at genres anymore because everything is fusing. I’m very drawn to the bounce type music that we have in the South—I just want to polish it a little bit. There should be some type of music that everybody can get into.”
The recording industry is saturated with artists claiming to make music for everyone, but Wes’ statement isn’t a blank one. The universal connection is clear on his Epic Records debut and its lead single “Shake That Jelly,” a-vivacious club tune that would compel even the most socially awkward guys and girls to move their bodies.
“You have to know how to make people feel. That’s how you relate to fans who like house music, electronica, urban, hip-hop, R&B,” says Wes. “My ultimate goal is to awaken the music world.”
Consider this all-inclusive brand of soul second nature for the singer/songwriter who hails from the birthplace of blues, a city that’s spawned greats across genres—Isaac Hayes, Elvis Presley, Three 6 Mafia and Justin Timberlake, to name a few. Even with his hometown’s rich soul history, Wes has never limited his musical style. So it’s no surprise that he’ll run down an A to Z inventory of influences like Bobby Womack, Al Green, Stevie Wonder and even Chopin.
Where does it all come from?
Wes’ taste for worldly tunes dates back as early as eight years old when he heard a song at a church summer camp that changed his life. Even at that age, he was able to distinguish a hit. “I was watching Aladdin and ‘A Whole New World’ came on. I was like, ‘Whoa!’ Something happened,” he remembers. “I thought, that’s music, that’s beautiful, that’s a perfect song. Lyrically, the orchestration of it, the dynamics, everything about it was mind-blowing to me.”
Raised in the Orange Mound area of Memphis with his three older sisters, Wes grew up an introvert. Preening on stage didn’t come naturally. But writing and singing helped him escape his self-constructed-cocoon. “I learned how to adapt quickly. I was always thinking, always planning and dreaming, quietly.”
Wes’ “Mr. Piano” nickname is well earned. Since his father was a pastor (mom was a missionary), it wasn’t unusual for him to be around music constantly. Wes first started playing piano at age 5 and singing in his dad’s Westhaven Community Church at age 9 while serving as the organist in the church choir. Still, the budding musician always sought out a challenge. Once he conquered gospel, he delved into classical and jazz training and later played with a local band in hopes of fusing all his interests into one tasty gumbo.
“I realized that I love all types of music so much, how can I put that all in one pot and showcase my own individuality? So I embraced my hood roots and polished it with a new modern sound,” he says. “I’d go home every night, stand in front of the mirror and see what I would look like performing without a piano.”
Performing local shows with his band at B.B. Kings allowed Wes to polish out the kinks. He scored his breakout gig thanks to a friend who started engineering for Three 6 Mafia. After winning the Academy Award for Best Original Song, the group needed a keyboard player, and Wes’ name came up. Dj Paul invited Wes to his home and offered the young’un a gig as an in-house producer, writer and keyboardist. “I grew up on their music, so it was surreal to me. Every day I went to the studio, I couldn’t believe it. I’d walk in the door with a smile on my face. It never got old because those are some talented guys. Great ears. Hard working guys.”
The résumé boost opened a whole new world for Wes, who stacked industry contacts and toured with Chrisette Michelle and Chris Cornell just to name a few. With his Epic debut, Wes promises a project that reflects his passion for international tunes anyone can groove to, from the hoods of Memphis to the clubs of Ibiza. “I went into the studio one day and started creating, intending to steer away from my familiar conditioning of the ” memphis sound.” I started creating ballads, pop records and urban records,” says Wes. “I don’t care to be measured up to anybody. I want to stamp my own fingerprints.”