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Tyrone Wells plays to a crowd larger than CSUF has seen in a year
Singer Song-Writer Tyrone Wells, got his start in Fullerton, but hasn't forgotten
By: By Michelle Ramos
Posted: 4/5/07

After playing acoustic shows for four years at McClain's coffee shop and Plush café for a year in Fullerton and selling CDs out of the trunk of his car, Tyrone Wells is finally getting the recognition he deserves. Wells didn't wait around to simply be discovered, he rolled up his sleeves and worked for his success.

"I like to encourage artists not to wait for anybody, you really have to be a self-starter, you have to book your own shows, record your own records. You don't need anyone to do that for you. You can do those things," Wells said.

Wells has come along way since his Downtown Fullerton days; he's played packed out shows at the House of Blues, and other big venues in L.A.

The soulful singer-songwriter sang to a crowd of over 400, the biggest show CSUF has seen in over a year, says Justin Owens ASI Productions Pub Concert Series Coordinator.

Wells has just released his first major label album, after signing a deal with Universal Records, and is now on tour promoting his new CD.

For Wells, it almost feels like starting over, as he plays shows in cities where they are unfamiliar with his music. With a large fan base here in southern California already established, it's a new challenge for Wells.

"I've built something substantial here, but when we play in Minneapolis or Atlanta, those are all really small shows," Wells says. Here, it feels great and it does feel really good to have signed a major deal, it feels like it validates what we've been doing."

If validation is what he's after, then nothing says validation like hearing your song on the radio for the first time. "I heard my song 'What are we fighting for' and I flipped out!" Wells said. "I think I got some tears in my eyes too, just cause that's another one of those landmarks as an artist, you're like wow! I just heard my [song] on the radio, this is so great."

This month Wells will be kicking-off a tour with Leigh Nash of Sixpence None the Richer fame. The tour will start in Chicago and make its way through the eastern states ending in Michigan. Wells has already had radio play in Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, Baltimore, and Nashville, and according to drummer and tour manager Mark Chipello, it won't be long before we get to hear Tyrone on our radio waves.

"Star 98.7 is really involved with us, they presented our show at the El Rey and the Roxy, we've already done something called the Star Lounge." Chipello said. "So, I think they're going to play the record it's just a matter of time."

Now that Wells has signed a major record deal and is getting increased radio play, this Fullerton resident doesn't forget about the city he calls home. "This is really where I got my start, so I'm really grateful for the people that have supported me."

In addition to this talent from Fullerton, one of his band members is a Cal State Fullerton Professor of music, J. Michael O'Neal. O'Neal plays keys for Wells, and has played for Justin Timberlake, Usher, Chaka Khan, Tina Marie, and others, but says that he especially enjoys working with Tyrone. "He has a great sound and a great guy too, he's as real as he sounds," O'Neal said.

Tyrone's lyrics depict the real person that he is and the real issues that face our society today. In his song "What Are We Fighting For?" he describes the infectious hatred that attacks us and recommends a remedy. "It's time to love one another, we're sisters and brothers. What are we fighting for?"

This theme is one that it very dear to Tyrone's heart. At each of his shows, displayed alongside his CD's is information to help support the Invisible Children, an organization created to bring aid to children in Africa that are caught in the midst of a civil war, many of which are forced to fight in combat at as young as six years of age. "I saw Invisible Children, and was so moved by it and what they're doing, I wanted top help support in whatever way I can," Wells said. "After watching that DVD, I was so floored by it and how these innocent kids are the victims. We've been moving DVD's and bracelets all over the U.S. on our last college tour."