Often described as Chicago’s Boy Wonder, Wyatt Waddell is a multi-instrumentalist known for his perfect pitch and instinctive songwriting. With a powerful, yet ungodly versatile range and an infectious mix of indie, R&B, pop and funk prowess, Waddell has carved out quite the space for himself within the underground scene. Now with the released his latest song “You,” the underground part of his career is about to become a thing of the past.
Mystical. Mythical. A slow jam with hints of Prince, not just in his vocals but in the harmonies that circle the song, “You” is everything soulful R&B is supposed to be.
“I was heartbroken, and I needed an outlet for my emotions,” explains Waddell. “Usually the more intense my feelings are, the more the idea flows better. It’s almost as if the music that I make depends on me being vulnerable with myself. I make better choices musically when I’m in touch with my emotions.”
Though most don’t consider Chicago a bustling music scene other than its signature blues, Waddell’s tracks are as much a product of the Windy City as he is. Opting to record close to home, Wyatt not only laid down “You” at Rosebud Space in Chicago, but he also did most of the heavy lifting recording all the instruments and then inviting some friends to come in for auxiliary guitar/keys. Still, it’s the vocals that reach through the speakers to tap you on the heart and that’s a direct result of both a great song as well as recording it at just the right moment.
“My producer and I had sad vibes when we recorded the vocals as we both had been through recent heartbreak and we went from there.”
You can’t always plan it but there’s a certain despair that can come from vulnerability. Of course, it’s possible to sing a heartbroken song and if the song is a hit with fans, you’re going to have to. But hearts don’t break, they bleed and if you happen to catch that moment when raw emotion seeps into your voice, that’s the magic right there.
“Being infatuated with someone hurts, but good songs can come out of it. Like I said before, I needed an outlet to be vulnerable. The cover art shows this most definitely because I thought that I’d never show myself shirtless-but somehow it happened, and I don’t regret it. I want people to be vulnerable with themselves.”
As gifted a songwriter as he is a singer and instrumentalist, Waddell looks to the best of them when it comes to songwriting heroes. Noting John Lennon’s “Revolution” lyric, “You say you got a real solution, well, you know. We’d all love to see the plan. You askin’ for a contribution, well, you know. We’re all doin’ what we can,” it’s Mr. Superstitious that he fingers as the writer he admires most.
“Stevie Wonder sees the world through a different lens and his lyrics still apply to the current political world/climate.
“As for me, I write at my best when I don’t expect a good idea. It’s always when I’m either not thinking about writing or when I daydream. When I daydream about a song randomly, I can try to find the avenues that it can go down to enhance the song.”