Canadian Nathan Chiu, 23, better known as Wayfie, started showing interest in music when he was only five years old before his parents put him in piano lessons. Although the lessons were brief, they realized Nathan had a good ear for melodies, which was an early sign of his potential.
During his childhood and adolescence, he participated for years in a summer music camp in Gibsons, British Columbia, where he learned to play the drums. Wayfie learned how to play guitar and bass on his own, from watching tutorials on YouTube, where he also learned a lot about music production. At the age of 13, he played drums in a band that covered names like Green Day and Blink-182, and it was around the same time he discovered he liked to sing.
By the end of high school, he was already prepared to attend the Nimbus School of Recording & Media, a place where he came to understand the connection between poetry and songwriting, and also learned how to bring the idea and vision of any artist to life in his new role as a music producer. At music school, he also met his current manager, Mika Guedes.
The infinitely talented artist is able to create and produce multiple styles of music and has just released his third single of the year, “Call You Mine,” an upbeat pop song about second chances.
Written over three years ago from the perspective of someone wanting a second chance, Wayfie’s “Call You Mine” is an upbeat love song about wanting an opportunity to be let back into someone’s life. The catchy pop song has an uplifting melody with contrasting, melancholy lyrics. Considered by Wayfie to be a universal love song, each word in “Call You Mine” is intentional, created with the goal of expressing to the listener that asking to be let back into someone’s life when they feel they may not deserve it is incredibly difficult.
When did you first develop a love for music? When was it you knew you wanted to pursue a career in the industry?
Wayfie: “I first developed a love for music when I was really young and my mom would sing songs to me and my brother before bed. They were usually old church songs but I liked the melodies, and the words were also quite comforting. I decided I wanted to pursue a career in the music industry when I realized it was a possibility. Growing up my Dad had recorded the TV special “Motown 25” on VHS, and my family would gather around to watch it at least once a year. The constant fascination with live musical performances throughout my childhood must have planted the dream in the back of my mind to be involved in that at a professional level. I can remember being 8 or 9 years old and already making up imaginary bands with my friends where we would play air instruments and sing along to artists such as Billy Talent and Linkin Park. In high school, I learned a family friend was actively involved in the audio engineering side of the music industry and I think from there my lifelong music dreams suddenly felt possible.”
When did you begin writing your own songs? How did you find your sound? How have you seen it evolve over the course of the pandemic? What/who do you look to for inspiration?
Wayfie: “I remember writing my first song in the back of my parent’s Chevy Suburban along with a childhood friend as a fun imaginative activity to pass the time while driving. It’s so funny looking back at the cleverness in what we wrote because we named the song “The Burb,” and I happened to grow up in a small suburban part of Maple Ridge (a small town located just outside of Vancouver), as well as the song being about riding in the Chevy Suburban. The lyrics went something like, “Riding in the Burb, to LA, with food in my belly…” (sung as bell-ay to rhyme with LA). We must have been no older than 8 or 9 when we wrote this. The time I actually started taking myself somewhat seriously was when I was 13 and had started a non-imaginary Punk Rock band with my two closest friends from grade eight (Andrew Joseph Stevens III & Jack Williams) while living in London, Ontario. I think I really found my sound over the course of developing my skills as a producer, but the first thing I remember helping me establish some confidence as a singer was playing around with lots of vocal reverb. I always had a deep attraction to angelic-sounding vocals that were drenched in reverb. Over the course of the pandemic, I decided to start playing around with more Pop sounds as a way to display some of the cool writing and production techniques I’d been learning. For inspiration, I tend to meditate and spend time reading, or in conversation. I like to learn about people’s different views on topics such as creativity and life experiences to better extend my understanding of the human experience. I also get inspiration from my friends and family with who I share a love for music.”
Following your high school years, you attended the Nimbus School of Recording & Media in your home province of British Columbia. It was there you learned the writing techniques that offered a deeper understanding of the connection between poetry and songwriting. As someone who has a passion for poetry and the drive to reach new heights as a songwriter, explain how you are able to leverage both in order to appeal to various audiences; visually and audibly.
Wayfie: “I found I learned more about music production and audio engineering while attending Nimbus than I did about writing. However, while I was attending audio school I realized all the knowledge I accumulated from primary and secondary school, pertaining to writing, was directly applicable to writing songs. Over the course of meeting many wise, experienced, and influential mentors of mine throughout my whole life growing up, I learned many truths about appealing to different people. Much of this came naturally to me considering I, as a young person, eventually developed into somewhat of a social chameleon, always priding myself in my diplomatic ways; never failing to find some sort of common ground with each human I crossed paths with. When I ended up following my passion for music at a professional level, it seemed quite serendipitous that these qualities and passions I would naturally come to acquire over the course of my life would be so valuable in developing an image and sound to accompany the songs I would end up writing.”
As a producer, you’re working with Mathew V (604 Records), and have worked with Jessia (Republic Records), among others. What have these past and present experiences taught you when it comes to producing your own music?
Wayfie: “First off I must mention, these are both genuinely fantastic human beings, not to mention both über talented, and I am beyond grateful to have had the chance to be let into their creative processes. From working with many talented up-and-coming artists as a producer and songwriter, I’ve really learned how important the song itself is. I hear this sentiment resounded from most of the industry heavyweights I’ve had the chance to learn from and even those I have yet to meet/work with, and it is that: the song is everything. From this idea I’ve adopted a variation of this expression going something like, “let the song speak for itself,” and from spending a lot of time having this philosophy be the guiding central concept behind all of my musical creations, I’ve found I’ve been able to create some of my best work. With social media, fame, and celebrity culture having dominated the nature of being a music professional within the last many decades leading up to now, I’ve come to realize how uninterested I am in anything other than writing songs that speak to my truth and the shared truths of those I work with; ergo, I shall let my songs speak for themselves.”
Written over three years ago from the perspective of someone wanting a second chance, your latest single “Call You Mine,” is an upbeat love song with contrasting melancholic lyrics. Given its pop soundscape, the song alludes to an encouraging moment where one allows themselves to see things through. In what way has the creation of the song allowed you to fill up your cup with hope, or at the very least, give you peace of mind, having revisited it after so long?
Wayfie: “When I endeavor to communicate a feeling, it can be a more painful process chasing after the words; often leaving me without satisfaction, feeling doubtful, unsettled, desperate, hopeless, even depressed. From this experience, I’ve begun to consider: what if this song needs more time to cook? Similar to how some meals require short cooking times at high heat, while others require lower temperatures over longer periods of time. Call You Mine was definitely an example of a song that required more time, and because I was willing to trust the process and patiently wait for the words to arrive, I proved to myself there is a way to very effectively communicate my feelings free from distress and expectation. This specific example of growth as a writer, and as an artist, has certainly been the most life-giving lesson I’ve had the privilege of learning up to now.”
Crafted around the idea of doing right by the people who mean the most in our lives, “Call You Mine” longs to rekindle falling outs. In what way has emotional maturation played a role in allowing you to put your virtues ahead of your vices, as well as become unafraid of being vulnerable, and take accountability for your actions?
Wayfie: “I have a tendency to resist the idea of emotional maturation, however, I understand and have started to accept the idea simply for the reason of certain emotional lessons/truths being learned/understood over the course of a significantly longer period of time. To which I would say emotional maturation tends to play an extremely foundational role in allowing me to overcome resistance in almost all situations. However, Call You Mine reveals the perpetuity of the struggle. It points to the common occurrence in which humans in any relationship inevitably encounter hurt. In my writing, I find myself oscillating between the voice of the enlightened and the subject who endures the human struggle, further shining light on the dichotomy of vice and virtue. As far as being unafraid is concerned, related to vulnerability and accountability, I strive to accept daily I will likely never be unafraid. Fear, I’ve found, is something I have to take on willingly as I move in a direction that is both beyond my understanding and beyond my comfort. Fear used to stand in the doorway, menacingly, always keeping me from moving towards what my heart desired. Now fear follows me down the hall towards the next door, begging me to turn back.”
As someone who is familiar with the industry on multiple levels, how have you found it has helped with understanding your aspirations as a flourishing artist/individual in the industry?
Wayfie: “It kind of sucks and it’s kind of nice. I sort of view the industry as one of those massive indoor warehouse gymnasiums with foam pits and arcade games. Chuck E Cheese’s on acid, let’s say. You have the thrill-seekers who are constantly racing back to the tallest slide just to feel the rush all over again. Then there are the ball pit dwellers who typically like to sit around and talk more than really do much playing at all. There are the high score nerds always trying to get the most tickets and leave a legacy behind in a 4- letter name that will eventually be buried or erased a decade later when video games evolve again. The loud ones, who pretty much stand anywhere on the play structure and yell, “Look at me!” always pining after validation in a crowd full of strangers. Bullies (a lot of them), damsels, heroes, the scorned, the list goes on. So to address my aspirations within this chaotic play structure, well, I spent so much time stuck in my head living out the stories in my imagination, I can’t really see myself aspiring to much more than sharing those stories with the rest of the world.”
What’s next for Wayfie in the coming months?
Wayfie: “I have a collaboration with my friend Louis set to release this fall. Hahlweg (Seeking Blue + WMPG), is his producer/artist name, and he had reached out to me about a nostalgic cover song project he was working on with a few other artists (Silent Planet, On Child, Ciele), and I felt so excited and humbled to be considered by the out-of-this-world talented, the one and only, Louis Hahlweg. We ended up covering Blue Foundation’s, “Eyes on Fire,” and it honestly turned out sounding beyond phenomenal. After the fall definitely holds more original Wayfie songs and I cannot wait for the world to get to know me more through the stories I tell.”
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