Monty Wells is a singer/songwriter whose work has been featured on radio, film and television programs such as MTV, RTL Late Night, Shownieuws, Koffietijd and Veronica. Over the course of his career, Monty has collaborated with some of the top producers and artists in the world, including: Martin Garrix, Dj Licious, Andrew Goldstein and Anton Malmberg.
In the last two years alone, Monty has had five #1 features, a #2, and a total of nine iTunes Top 40 projects. Replay, a song co-written by Monty, was selected as the title track for the Dutch Major Motion Picture Code M. In 2016 Alive, a song that Monty co-wrote and performed, charted on the Spoify Viral Top 50, in Sweden at #6 and Norway at #18. Additionally, his song Daylight reached #6 on the Hype Machine Chart.
Originally from Washington D.C., Monty now lives in The Netherlands with the girl he fell in love with through YouTube… and then married! Below we find out more about his bitter/sweet introduction to the music world and the exciting journey it has taken him on.
Tell us about your singing journey. How did you get into singing?
When I was 18, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. The initial surgery removed the tumor, but the doctors found some concerning lymph nodes in my back, right behind my stomach. I underwent radiation therapy but the problem with radiation is that it breaks down all the cells it encounters, not just the cancerous ones. It basically tore my stomach up from the inside. I was constantly sick, and in a lot of pain.
One day after treatment, while lying down, I picked up this old guitar, and started strumming. I realized that the guitar actually soothed my stomach pain. I taught myself how to play, and eventually started writing my own songs. It was a great way to pass the time.
What are your upcoming releases?
I just finished signing the paperwork for a release through the Spanish Record Label, Blanco y Negro (Hardwell, W&W, Pitbull).
Is there a particular warm up process you have before recording?
wI have been working with Eric Arceneaux and the AApproach program for as long as I have been a professional writer. It focuses on breath support, core strengthening, and effortless delivery of vocals. So it isn’t just lip rolls, vocal glissando, or vocal fry over scales. It’s a bunch of exercises that sound, and look a bit weird. But it WORKS!
Tell us about your songwriting process – is there a particular way you tackle the topline?
My writing process differs depending on the type of project I am working on. With toplines, the overall tone and direction of the song has been created ahead of time. This can make creating a proper lyrical concept more difficult. With these projects, I find it much easier to tackle the melodic concept of the song first. I always start by creating a mumble sketch. Basically, press record on a Logic project file, and sing gibberish over the instrumental. I’ll usually experiment with, and rearrange the vocal stem, to see if I can improve the overall concept. It’s all about finding a melody that connects with the song, and makes me feel something. Once I have the concept, I create a rough mix-down, and bounce the project. Then, I just listen to the concept over and over, form the story, and then the lyrics.
What’s your biggest success to date?
That is a really tough question, with a very complicated answer. I guess, what I am most proud of is the network I have been able to build while living overseas (Vocalizr has helped to expand that). I had an immense amount of people involved with everything that I have achieved. I am an immigrant to the Netherlands. I came to this country with a guitar, a computer, and zero contacts (other than my girlfriend, now wife, and her family). I can be extremely introverted. So it’s crazy to think that in the short time that I have been here, I have had my music featured in a Dutch Major Motion Picture (that was eventually released internationally), on National Television, and at the top of the iTunes charts; both nationally, and internationally. Those types of things do not happen without support and help from great network of incredible people.
Who would you most like to work with, and why?
Ed Sheeran, or Bruno Mars. They are both incredible songwriters, with a wealth of knowledge. They way they approach their storytelling, and songwriting is thought provoking. They gravitate effortlessly from writing an entirely playful song, to one that is incredibly profound. It’s awe-inspiring. I could learn a lot from them. I wouldn’t even need to write a song, just be in the studio and watch them work.
Which artists do you find inspiring? Why?
There are so many different artists that inspire me. The first name that comes to mind, is the producer, singer, and songwriter Jon Bellion. He is the co-writer of Eminem and Rihanna’s hit song, The Monster. Apparently, his label, Captial Records, signed him a while back, but allowed him to release three albums for free. This gave him a chance to build an incredibly loyal following, while giving them full access to his music. His latest album was released in the “traditional manner”. I saw a YouTube video where he explained that his rationale for having people pay for his latest work was that, the body of work he would be releasing would be even better than what he had previously done. His album, The Human Condition, shot to #5 on the Billboard 200, and his current single All Time Low, is certified platinum. It’s just an awesome and inspiring story.
What are your top 5 favourite records of all time?
Rock With You by Michael Jackson
Maps by The Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs
Dark Blue by Jack’s Mannequin
One More Time by Daft Punk
A-Team by Ed Sheeran
What’s your guilty pleasure song?
It’s Gonna Be Me by *NSYNC
Do you have a favorite microphone? If so, why?
The Rode Classic 1! I got to use one while in Sweden for a few songwriting sessions. I fell in love. Unfortunately, they are no longer in production.
How did you find singing jobs before Vocalizr?
Mostly by word of mouth, or connecting with producers and songwriters through Soundcloud, Instagram, or Facebook.
Have you made new connections through Vocalizr? Has it opened any doors for you?
Definitely! I met the producer of my latest label release through Vocalizr. About 2 years ago, we connected through the site, and even met up in Amsterdam during Amsterdam Dance Event. Our song will be released this summer.
If you were stuck on a deserted island, what are 3 things you couldn’t live without?
Water, shelter, and fire! LOL, I watch WAY too much Discovery Channel 😀