Atlanta-based singer-songwriter Wiley from Atlanta is often known for his distinctive delivery and attention to lyricism. Representing a new style from the city best known for trap and R&B, Wiley brings his unique sound to the forefront. With a musical blend of rock, soul, R&B, folk, and hip-hop, Wiley continues to defy genres and create a lane that is all his own.
Two years removed from his debut project Blue Don’t Make Me Cry, he’s now gearing up to share his sophomore album. The album’s lead single, Heat Lightning, produced by Sensei Bueno is out now, and we had the chance to catch up with Wiley to talk about his mental headspace, the importance of visuals, and how he views his trajectory. Check out the new single, along with a short Q&A down below.
How did the new single come together?
Bueno and I recorded this song close to a year and a half ago in one of our first sessions together. The original demo was just the guitar and my voice, and we added some instrumentation and other elements to it at the beginning of this year to finish it. We knew it was something crazy when we first made it, and I’m glad I waited until I could release it as the lead single for an album.
The new album will be your first full-length offering since Blue Don’t Make Me Cry. How would you say your headspace has changed since that release?
I think that album changed my perspective on what it means to make an album in many ways. The process, the rollout, it’s a delicate thing. Blue Don’t Make Me Cry was its piece of music and its own story, and I think in the time since its release, I’ve tried to paint with broader strokes when it comes to themes, subject matter, and the different elements that make an album cohesive. We wanted BDMMC to be a loop, so in a way, that idea is self-contained. This album is a little more open to interpretation, and it follows a different storyline, which has been fun to put together.
I think people don’t realize how involved you are when it comes to visuals and the total package of your music. Can you talk about the process in terms of how you were rolling out this new single?
I’m fortunate to have a team of close friends around me who are intelligent and creative and are constantly inventive when executing the vision for a project. I think it’s crucial for everyone involved with the process to get what story we’re telling sonically, visually all of it. Luis Brian and I work well together when it comes to putting a release together. I think we’ve known each other for long enough that we understand how to make ourselves excited about a project. I start with a concept or an idea, but I think it’s natural for it to change over time as it comes into more precise focus, and it takes all of us to make it real. This single and its visual are part of a larger story, which we always try to do when we’re making an album. We wanted it to be a pretty clear introduction to the sound and the style of the project.
Besides the album’s debut single, do you plan on rolling out more visuals from the album when it drops?
Yeah, we plan for more visuals. There’s a lot of excellent content we have planned around the album.
I know a lot of your process is intuitive, but with some time in between your earliest work and now can you see a trajectory?
When I first started performing and putting out music, I decided to build a fan base from the ground up—playing every show possible, meeting anybody I could to learn and grow as an artist. So from that perspective, I think the trajectory is to keep putting the art first and keeping people interested in what I’m doing. I feel like if I can perform my music for a living, I won.
Anything you wanna share about the album?
I’ll say that I think the album is taking my music in an unexpected direction. It features production from Sensei Bueno, Kieran Waters, and Bird Language, all people I consider friends. I’m excited for it to come out.