Back to Tyrone Wells

Article published May 3, 2007
Performer brings unique acoustic rock to Agora
By Norm Narvaja
News Journal

CLEVELAND -- Not too long ago, Tyrone Wells landed a one-month "tryout" run of performances at a southern California coffee shop.

The one-month run turned into three years, eventually leading to his major-label debut, "Hold On," released by Republic Universal Records.

Wells will perform his unique fusion of acoustic rock, blues and R&B Saturday at the Agora Ballroom.

"Most shows were just me and my guitar," Wells said during a telephone interview. "Every once in a while, I'd book something bigger and that would in turn generate more interest for the smaller gigs."

Wells said he had already written and recorded the songs for "Hold On" and released them independently when major-label representatives came knocking on his door.

"I had never really talked to any major labels for my six years prior as an indie singer-songwriter," he said. "Within the course of two weeks, I wound up talking to almost every label there was. It was overwhelming and exciting.

"In this business, you learn to not believe anything is happening until it actually does. ... At the end, there was a nice little bidding among labels and a contract was sent to us."

Wells recorded "Hold On" with some unwritten goals in mind.

"Of course, I didn't want to have bad songs on the record. I wanted to have songs written with the idea they could be played on the radio without knowing if they'd get a shot on radio," he said. "And since I was recording with a full band, I didn't want to lose the intimacy and the sound of what I did when it was just my acoustic guitar and my voice."

Wells succeeds in those goals. The opening track, "What Are We Fighting For?" has instruments and a choir structured around his vocals and guitars.

Recently, his song "Dream Like New York" was adopted by the New York Mets and is played at home games in Shea Stadium.

However, Wells hopes the record and the live performances strike personal chords with listeners.

"I think one of the highest compliments I could ever receive is when someone tells me they were inspired by the music," he said. "I am most encouraged when I hear that, because I know what it's like to hear something and be inspired to go home and pick up a guitar or a paintbrush, even forgive someone or just dream big."