10 Questions with ... Wrabel
August 15, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
(Photo Credit: Eliot Hazel)
Wrabel's first single "Sideways" was a featured on iTunes, and it was downloaded nearly half a million times! Since then, he has performed on Good Morning America, VH1's Fashion Rocks and at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami alongside Dutch DJ Afrojack who remixed Wrabel's hit song "Ten Feet Tall". After the song was featured during a Budweiser commercial during Super Bowl XLVIII the song became an international hit. He has gone on to write songs for Ellie Goulding, Phillip Phillips, Adam Lambert, Will Young, Prince Royce Katherine McPhee, and most recently, Ke$ha. His current single "11 Blocks is rapidly approaching Top 15 at Hot AC.
1). How's your summer been going? What's a typical day look like for you lately?
Yes, it's been a nice summer and I've been very busy. I'm writing now, so a typical day for me is writing songs four days a week. I live near Runyon Canyon [in the Hollywood Hills] so sometimes I'll go up there. Or, I'll get dressed and fall asleep on the couch, even though I'm supposed to be someplace at noon!
Usually I'm writing for somebody. I'm just getting back into the game of writing for some other artists and I'm branching out and writing with several people. I love movies, and I usually see a couple of movies a week.
2). Growing up, did you always want to be a performer? Could you see yourself doing anything else today?
Not really. I guess I always wanted to be a performer. I wrote my first song in third grade on one of those Casio keyboards where you hit the button and it plays the song. I wrote a song about climbing up a mountain or something and I'm sure that it was beautiful. I started singing around the 6th grade and I learned to play the piano when I was 16. I really wanted to write a song so I figured I'd learn how to play the piano.
Once I started writing I realized this is what I really want to do. I was singing and performing and even doing some theatrical performing along with some other things. I felt that I was almost there but nothing really hit the spot. I was in 6th grade and I started writing songs and I thought it was sooo cool. Once I started writing about the age of 16 (some pretty terrible songs), but songs never the less that didn't exist before.
I had a session last week and every time we write something that is even half decent it's such a weird and bizarre thing. I'll go into these sessions with a random person that I've never met before at noon, and I'm going to leave at eight pm and we're going to write a song. Sometimes we end up with a pretty cool song that we just made. I typically go in not having any ideas, I don't know what I'm going to say, I don't know what I'm going to do, and sometimes all those things come true. In those sessions I just enjoy calling it if it's not happening. When that happens I figure there's no point in stressing so let's go bowling, or let's go to In-N-Out. There's no point in forcing something that's not happening. But when it does happen I've had sessions where I'm completely freaking out it came out so good.
3). What was it like last year for you when your song with Afrojack, "Ten Feet Tall" aired during the Super Bowl?
That was very very bizarre. The whole year last year really! There was the Super Bowl ad [for Budweiser}, and I was at a friends house in Orange County watching the game. We didn't move, and I don't think I've ever watched an entire Super Bowl game. I was getting texts and it was crazy. And after it was over Sirius XM played the song as well so I ran out to my car to hear it and I couldn't believe it! I actually got to meet the whole Bud light team that was out in LA a few weeks later and that was really cool.
4). How did you first get together with Afrojack?
That was done through Island Records. We're both on Island/Def Jam. The story that I heard was that they were going through songs to play him and someone said "He's about 10 feet tall so why don't we play him "10 Feet Tall"? And Afrojack is literally a giant so someone cracked a joke and said that was actually a really good idea. So he heard the song and I never met him until we played in Amsterdam at the Ultra Weekend which is where they filmed the video. I had never actually met him which was so bizarre. I was in London and I would wake up and check on YouTube and it was great that this was happening without ever actually meeting him. It's just been a really great friendship and a great working relationship.
5). Please tell us what it was like working with Ke$ha?
I don't know ... What can I tell you? We met through writing and we've been writing a bunch and I'm pretty excited about it. It's been another very inspiring thing to work with her. I'm a total fan!
6). When will you be releasing a full length album?
I'm working on it. We put out the song "I Want You" and it's been really fun to write having magical days or weeks where something goes really quick. I send it into my managers and have people say that it's good and let's put it out. It's been nice to get an immediate reaction. I also have some remixes that I'm excited about as well. It's been so good to get a band together and play with friends.
7). Who would you love to work with? Who would be a dream artist for you to collaborate with?
One of my favorites at the top of the list would be Aqualung, Dan Black, Jennifer Hudson. I feel like I've had a lot of these little dreams come trues, so now shit... what do I do? I guess Adele would be really cool. I've recently been getting into Natasha Bedingfield. Her voice is soooo good! That would be cool! I'd love to work with her!
8). How do you think your sound has changed and grown through the years?
It's always been a work in progress. When I moved out here to LA I thought I was going to be just like The Fray. That was my wheelhouse to sit down at the piano and write a mid-tempo ballad. It's been weird branching out and collaborating with some of my favorite artists and producers.
I even got a guitar recently and I have no idea how to play it, so I've had to realize my strengths and my comfort zone. Then I would want to find someone who is outside of my comfort zone to work with.
9). What do you think sets you apart from other artists out there today? How do you stay unique and different especially in the LA music scene when there is so much talent out there?
I just died my hair purple! But seriously, I don't like to do things intentionally. If everyone sounds like this, I'm going to do that, if everyone goes right ... I'm going to go left. You can hear that sometimes in a song. I try to stay disconnected somewhat ... I love radio, but I try to stay disconnected from the music on the radio. I don't drive, I walk everywhere. I also like to see local shows, I try to get musical suggestions from friends, and I try to listen to everything whether or not I like it. I try to stay isolated in my own world. It's like having a security blanket of personal things.
10). What do you hope people take away from your music? Do you think there is a message you hope listeners take away?
I guess it's hard to say everything you want to say in a song. ... My favorite songs are songs that make me feel like I'm in it, and I wish I had the words and I wish I understood myself as much as that song understood me and my situation.