Discovering and sharing the work of new talent is our passion at the No Fly Zone Magazine. So when we heard a new record from Atlanta artist Josey Wellz we knew we had to snag him for a chat, pick his brain a bit, and then share his thoughts with you, our cherished readers. Enjoy!
NFZ: Please introduce yourself to our readers and tell us a bit about who you are and what you do.
Josey Wellz: Hey all! My name is Josey Wellz, and I am a Singer/Songwriter, born and raised in The Bronx, NY. I get asked about my name and how it became the chosen moniker. My name is Joel (Pronounced Joe-Well). I had a friend who would yell “JOSEY — WELLZ” every time he saw me. It wasn’t long before Josey Wellz became my tag, and I would be addressed as Josey or Wellz by friends and acquaintances. The name stuck, and I actually like it so much that I got it tattooed on my chest. People often ask, if the name has any relation with the western outlaw Josey Wales. As I am familiar with the famous gunslinger, and my friend may have made the same connection. I kept the name because I like how it sounds. It sounds like a name of confidence. Like Bond, James Bond. So please allow me to introduce myself. WELLZ, JOSEY WELLZ.
NFZ: You now live in Atlanta, GA, but you were originally from The Bronx. What was it like growing up there?
Josey Wellz: Living in The Bronx had its ups and downs. I grew up with very strict parents who are from the island of Dominica. They wouldn’t let us outside because of the violence in the neighborhood, but I was young and I loved to explore. New York is known for its mobile independency. All you need is a MetroCard (tokens in the 80’s and 90’s) and you can travel to any part of city that you want. I would travel to downtown Manhattan a lot and just people watch. At that age, the world was so small and I thought I knew everything.
I went to Evander Childs High school in The Bronx which has a reputation that precedes it. I remember how I used to get into issues at school, and the teachers would all say the same thing, “he has so much potential but he doesn’t apply himself”. I can say that I am the type of person that has determination to complete something once I do apply myself. I’m an 80’s baby so I was born in the “crack cocaine era”. Like Biggie said about the chances of getting out of the Hood depended on “if you were slinging Crack rock or you had a wicked jump shot”.
I spent many years trying find myself and discover my purpose in this thing we called life. I used to ask myself, what am I supposed to be doing. What satisfies me? What makes me happy? There were moments in my life when I thought that I had to be like others to be accepted. I had childhood Growing pains just like any young African American boy in NYC. I had to protect myself when issues arose. There were good moments as well. Playing ball at the community center and the park, and hanging out going to house parties that didn’t end in turmoil. I can say that I am thankful to have made it to be 30 years old.
NFZ: What’s the music scene like in Atlanta?
Josey Wellz: The Atlanta music scene in one word would be “Diverse”. You have so many people that live here and they are not from ATL, so they bring their style which is somehow influenced by the Atlanta culture (fashion, entertainment, music). Atlanta has also become known for trap music which flood speakers around the world. With catchy hooks and monster beats, Atlanta is definitely on the music map.
NFZ: You’ve just completed and released an album, “I Can’t Help Myself”. How did that come about and are you also the composer of the songs on it?
Josey Wellz: “I Can’t Help Myself” is the story about my life, love, and personality. The reason I named my album this, is because I can’t help who I was, who I am and who I will be. I can’t help it that I’m here. I can’t help being who I am meant to be. I wrote all the lyrics to all the songs on the album. Most of my songs are 10 years old.
NFZ: What inspires you to write, and do you have a method, or system, you use for composing?
Josey Wellz: Life inspires me to write. We all go through trials and tribulations. We all have issues that we deal with. Sometimes we keep them to ourselves and we harbor those feelings. My songs are uplifting, and state that even though there is turmoil in your life there is a way to turn that negativity into positivity even if it is for just a moment. I enjoy thinking of clever ways to express those happenings while relating my story to someone else’s story.
NFZ: How long have you been in the music business and what got you started?
Josey Wellz: Ahhhh, this question, always brings me back to the moment I started writing. No, I didn’t go to school for music. There was never a thought in which I just knew I was going to be a singer or songwriter. I remember singing in the children’s church until the age of 12. And that was the last time I actually sang.
The reason I started writing was because in 2007, I had a huge break up with my girlfriend at the time, and I was really emotionally distraught and depressed. As cliché as it may sound, writing was my escape. I started humming and I liked the tune. I then started to put words to my tune. I began to like how I could put words together and make them sound so melodic. This became a new found pleasure and I would practice non-stop for hours. I wrote song after song with no actual music. I felt like I was in my darkest moments and music was my light. So I had to let it shine. I have been writing songs for ten years, now. I’ve been in the studio a few times, but I never really took it seriously because I used to hate how my voice sounds, and I wasn’t confident in it. As I explained in one of the prior answers, I was trying to find myself, my purpose, my reason for being.
In early 2017 I was the sole investor/promoter for a concert for a particular R&B Artist, I put up all the money that I had saved up because I still believed in this artist. The ending result was no one showed up to this event, and I lost all my money. It was then I vowed that I would now invest in myself. Why not be my own risk? I know what I’m capable of. I know where I’ve been, and where I came from. I believe that my life is interesting enough for people to want to pay attention to how I deliver. In June 2017 I decided I wanted to reference some of my songs for established recording artists.
I went to a music store, the Guitar Center, and I bought the cheapest recording equipment that they had for sale. I recorded some songs with beats I found on YouTube and let my friend, Azure Bruce, listen to them, to see what she thought. Azure, is now my music manager, because she made an executive decision immediately after listening to the music. Azure called me back with a bunch of questions, most of them regarding, “where did this come from?” We spoke, and I explained my story regarding the music, and the types of songs and ideas that I have. Azure told me that she would call me back. When she called back, she explained that she booked some studio time. I went to the studio and recorded Novocaine, the 3rd track on my “I Can’t Help Myself” album. I listened to the track probably 100 times because I liked my sound. I wrote Novocaine 10 years ago which was inspired by Rihanna. I wrote that track like I imagined Rihanna signing it. I recorded a few more tracks and made the decision to become an artist. I feel like no one can tell my story better than I can.
NFZ: What are your thoughts regarding the current state of the entertainment industry and is there anything you’d like to see changed?
Josey Wellz: I sometimes think that the substance of music is stuck in the matrix and it just keeps looping. Originality is rarely sought after. And so many artist sound alike. I am a concept writer and it is difficult for me to write without a subject or concept. I do listen to some music, and I try to follow what is being said, but I will admit that sometimes it is difficult. On the flip-side, there are some phenomenal artists out there.
NFZ: Are you involved with any charities, political causes or activist issues you feel passionate about?
Josey Wellz: I am not currently involved with any charities, political causes or activist issues. I definitely have plans to give back when I am able to do so.
NFZ: What are some things that your fans don’t know about you and would probably surprise them?
Josey Wellz: I love to work with my hands. I like projects that involve building things, or renovating. I love trying to speak in different accents. I eat sunflower shells in whole.
NFZ: If you could choose to collaborate in the studio with any artist, living or dead, who would that be and why?
Josey Wellz: I would love to record with Chris Brown, Tory Lanez, Bryson Tiller, SZA, Ella Mai, H.E.R., or Khalid. I appreciate theirs styles of writing. There is so much depth to their writing, and each has their way of connecting with their listeners.
NFZ: What about up on stage?
Josey Wellz: Beyonce, Rihanna and all of the artists that I would I already mentioned who I would love to be in the recordings studio with. Chris Brown brings an energy that just hypes everybody up. There are so many artists that I would love to perform with, but I’ll just name these few for now.
NFZ: How can people follow and stay in touch with you?
Josey Wellz: I have a website which has different outlets to read about me, see me, and have direct access to me.
My website is www.joseywellz.com
Instagram is @josey_wellz
Snap Chat http://www.snapchat.com/add/josey_wellz1
My album is also available for purchase through all major music outlets. Here’s a link to find and buy my album on iTunes: