During the Winter of 2019, Wiley Beckett was holed up in his Brooklyn bedroom, deep into writing his first album. But his head was 3,000 miles away in Los Angeles, the setting of his first single (released Friday, February 26th). Wiley enjoys being elsewhere. For Wiley, music isn’t so much an escape as it is an exploration: of himself, of the characters he dreams up, and of his journey inward.
Wiley Beckett is a 22-year-old singer, songwriter, producer, and physics student (at a small school outside of Boston you probably have heard of, but that he is too bashful to talk about). “Los Angeles” is the first single off his upcoming debut album. He describes his music as pop-inspired alternative rock, but, like the characters in his songs, he’s still vibing it out. Our take? If you like Rex Orange County or Harry Styles, you’ll want to listen up.
We got the chance to sit down with Wiley and share an animal spirit reading to unpack his past, his present, and his future.
“Welcome to the vibe den Wiley Beckett. First question – do you have shoes on? Rule is no shoes so if you’re wearing any I’m gonna have to ask you to take them off.”
“No, I’m just rocking these Elmo socks right now, man” (he lifted up his leg to show off his red socks over the zoom camera). He’s sitting on his childhood bed, wearing his happy-go-lucky-every-little-thing-is-gunna-be-alright smile. Shoes off and spirit cards ready, we began.
Wiley’s Past: The Black Egg
The Black Egg is about finding your truth and speaking with authenticity. How do you connect with that Wiley?
“To hear something that focuses directly on voice is powerful with this being my first release. Everything I’ve been working on is about finding a voice. I spent all this time writing and recording this album and, to some extent, it took me completing an album to finally feel like I understand my voice at all. The black egg feels right as the past because it feels like that hurdle of finding my authentic voice is finally behind me.”
Wiley’s Present: The Scorpion
The Scorpion tends towards isolation, and is all about passion and determination. How do you connect with that Wiley?
“I always tend toward isolation, it usually produces very good things for me and also some not so good things. You know, feelings of just being in my own head, and spending a lot of time with my own thoughts. To write, record and put together this project took six months of isolation to reach a place where I could even start thinking about sharing it.
And even with the music finished, releasing it is still an isolating process. I don’t really have a centralized team, so the other day I ran around my room for two hours with a self-timed camera trying to take a picture for my Spotify profile. I took like 150 pictures, only to decide the first picture I took was my favorite. Obviously, indecision is not a new thing for me but this process of releasing music is 100% new. I haven’t put myself out there in this way ever before, but here I am 🙂
The Scorpion often has unresolved events from the past that can leave them feeling burned. Does that resonate with you and this album?
“To some extent, yeah. Looking at it in the typical romantic lens, those unresolved relationships have manifested in a lot of writing that I’ve done. It reminds me of that Harry Styles line – “I’m well aware I write too many songs about you.” Whether I pick up a guitar or write a lyric, it’s more often than not about this “you” character. It’s kind of a proverbial individual that I convince myself I’ve been wronged by, whether it’s actually true or just for the sake of the song. I definitely see that resentment from the scorpion tied into my writing.”
Wiley’s Future: The Zebra
The Zebra is a creative and eccentric visionary that is soon to expand its perspective. Wow. I love it. Does it connect with you Wiley?
“To me the Zebra represents the path I’ve taken. Taking the truth I found with The Black Egg and turning it into who I am. Taking what I’ve done and dreamed about and making it my reality. I’m really excited to develop my sound. My fingerprint is on every piece of this project, but in a way that was limiting, you know? The boundary on it was my mind. Which isn’t a bad thing, but I have room to grow. It’s good to see the Zebra as a reminder that other people have a lot to offer. I’m really excited to prioritize that collaborative creative process.
What did you think of your first spirit reading?
Super positive experience. I was skeptical at first but you definitely helped me get past that so I could take it at face value, and it helped me change my mindset.
What changed about your mindset?
I’m starting to look at my path as a bigger picture. Especially now around release time, it’s easy to get bogged down in the “what am I posting on Instagram? Why did I just get rejected from 50 blogs? Is anyone going to actually stream my song?” Constantly looking at myself through the lens of others is not at all good. The reading helped push me along to a larger realization that this is a journey unique only to me. I’m going to keep putting the work in and everything will come eventually, and I’ll try to enjoy it as it happens.
Listen to Los Angeles below!