ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Cute boys, good music - what more could you want?
By Anna Coutts
Gazette file photo
“NO, I’M NOT SATAN INCARNATE... I’M JUST TIRED!” Nathan
Wiley gets ready to rock Call The Office tonight.
Not many artists are blessed with both talent and opportunity — luckily
Nathan Wiley is. The 26-year-old singer from Prince Edward Island has gone
from unknown to stardom in just a few short years.
His debut album Bottom Dollar has gained critical acclaim and was noted by
Billboard Magazine as one of the top 10 albums of 2002. Wiley even managed
to receive several nominations and awards for his work on Bottom. Not surprisingly,
the whirlwind of success seems to have left him a little shell-shocked.
“It was so bizarre,” Wiley admits. “I mean, I didn’t
really expect this to happen. I was just producing my own stuff in my house,
planning to give out my CD as Christmas presents.”
Yet his quick rise to a critically acclaimed artist is probably not a surprise
to his family. Despite the fact his hometown in P.E.I. isn’t known as
a hot spot in the Canadian music industry, Wiley’s family itself has
always been very musical. “My family is very musically inclined, not
really in the traditional East-Coast style, but a little all over the place;
jazz, blues, Tom Waits — the music has always been there in my life.”
Wiley already has plans to ensure his next album is not anything like Bottom
Dollar, but instead as new and different as it can be. While touring he has
been picking up and learning new instruments, adding them into his already
expansive list of musical abilities. “I’m going kinda crazy,” Wiley
admits. “Just picking up everything I ever wanted to try, taking them
home and learning how to play them.”
His new songs have already begun to change in style: “Some are more
Beatles-y and some are a little louder and more aggressive.”
Wiley evidently values self-expression, as he did all the production, writing
and graphic work on Bottom Dollar himself.
“With my music, I’m a control freak all the way! Not with anything
else though,” he quickly adds. “I have a strong sense of what it’s
going to sound, feel and look like. I hear the songs finished in my head.”
Wiley also seems to have no intention of letting anyone change what he sees
and hears on his own.
“[I hope to] do as much of the production and design on my next album
as I can,” he says, but doesn’t rule out the possibility of collaborating
with others. “I mean, I’m open to the idea if someone approaches
me with it, but I usually am alone when I write, so I don’t know.”
He is, however, adamant that he would never consider collaborating with anyone
he doesn’t trust. “Trust is so important,” Wiley declares
firmly. “You have to trust someone if you’re going to let them
work with your stuff.”
It’s no surprise then given his fierce protection of his musical uniqueness
that he believes in creativity and “doing your own thing.” At the
same time, however, nothing seems to please him more than to have fans acknowledge
his hard work.
“I gauge a good show by the audience — if the song is all dead
quiet, and they are all dead quiet, I know I have their undivided attention
and I know I’ve played a good show.”
Nathan Wiley plays Call The Office tonight, along with Matt Mays. Admission