Wes Nelson

Wes Nelson talks school, sports, and his journey into music.

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Interviewer: Sonia Akther // @__sosonia

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“I’m a learning addict and you can’t learn everything in music.”

Wes Nelson, a 23-year-old from Newcastle-under-Lyme, has arrived on the music scene. His debut single “See Nobody”, featuring Hardy Caprio, attracted a slew of celebrity fans and was followed by a second standout single, “Nice To Meet Ya” with Yxng Bane. A former semi-professional footballer, Muay Thai kickboxer, and a Nuclear System Design Engineer to boot, Wes is no stranger to the celebrity scene having made a name for himself on Love Island (2018), Dancing on Ice (2019), and The X Factor: Celebrity (2019).
We met Wes from his well-kept walk-in wardrobe on Zoom—he is super chilled talking about his various endeavours but becomes his most animated to promote a young unknown artist he’s listening to right now. His own music is a blend of Afrobeats and R&B which the streams prove is working, and that Wes Nelson may have unwittingly teased us to a career in music all along.

Full Look: Tokyo James, Shoes: Kickers

What is a Nuclear System Design Engineer?

So basically there’s a lot of maths, a lot of physics, a lot of calculations — it’s engineering but the
chemical and electrical side.

And what did you have to study?

I was studying at the same time as I was working and I studied Maths, Physics, Product Design
and P.E.

So all the very easy subjects…

Haha! Exactly. And then at University, I studied Electrical Engineering.

Full Look: Tokyo James, Shoes: Kickers

You were also a semi-professional footballer, who did you play for and who do you

I was with my local team, Newcastle Town at the time and I loved those football days. But I support Cardiff City which is my brother’s team right now. I support whoever my brother plays for.

Could you tell us a little about Muay Thai kickboxing?

Muay Thai is pretty brutal – it’s a normal ring, like a boxing ring, and you can punch, knee, elbow, grab and throw too. It’s a lot like MMA and UFC but without the ground and pound. I’ve done a bit of MMA boxing and a bit of K1 Kickboxing too. I love combat sports, I think they’re so much fun.

Full look: Amiri, Trainers: Nike

Full look: Amiri, Trainers: Nike

Are there any disciplines from these sports you’ve taken into your music?

With Muay Thai and contact sports, it’s taking the responsibility for your work. And what I mean by that is, say you’ve got eight weeks for a fight camp, the other guy has eight weeks too, they’ve got the same amount of time as you have, but it’s what you do in be eight weeks that will prove it in the ring and decide who comes out victorious. I think the applied learning and the applied concentration and focus, and internal motivation to better yourself and give the best of yourself is what I’ve taken away from kickboxing. And in team sports, football is a big team sport where you’re only as strong as your weakest player. I’ve taken that into music and I’ve surrounded myself with an amazing team.

Full Look: Gucci, Shoes: GH Bass

You had a great performance on X-Factor and did not sign to Simon Cowell’s label, was that
a difficult decision?

I don’t think so, or it was never a difficult decision for me. I’m a perfectionist and I want control over what I do.

Was there an official offer on the table?

If there was, we nipped it in the bud before any serious conversations started. I knew I wanted to sit back and learn my craft to better myself as an artist and find my sound. It’s the same with everything I do, I want to be the best I can be at it for me. It’s like going onto a football pitch if you’re not warmed up or have not been practising, it’s useless. What you want to do is ‘practice, practice, practice’, so that when you go out onto the pitch and you cross that white line, you’re the best you can possibly be because that’s when everyone’s watching.

Full Look: Gucci, Shoes: GH Bass

Vest & Shirt: Sean Suen @ LAB STORE LONDON, Trousers: Gallery Department @Mr Porter, Shoes: GH Bass

Who are the people you go to for advice?

Mainly, my family, I go to my mum, my dad and my brother who always have level-headed, grounded advice for me to keep my feet on the ground by reminding me that I’m still just a guy from Stoke.
I also take inspiration and advice from everyone, especially experts in their field. I spoke to Chip who gave me a great piece of advice. He said, “You’ve got one song, you did ‘See Nobody’ and it did great, but now it’s about every other song after that”.
It might sound like super basic advice but it’s so true— it really is about consistency and constantly producing great songs. Forget about the charts and focus on the product which is the music and the rest will follow. And that’s what I’m doing, that’s what I’m applying.

Vest & Shirt: Sean Suen @ LAB STORE LONDON, Trousers: Gallery Department @Mr Porter, Shoes: GH Bass

How did ‘Nice to Meet Ya’ with Yxng Bane come together as a song?

Nice to Meet Ya is kind of like a flexing song, it’s a cheeky song, and Bane, even without his voice just fits that profile. He’s a cheeky chap, he’s always in nice clothes and all the rest. He suited the song personality-wise before anything I think, and then his voice is perfect for it too, it just blended in nicely that I reached out to him, sent him the song and he loved it and that was that.

‘See Nobody’ attracted many celebrity fans, how are you finding these relationships?

I’m a very sociable person, I love to network, and I think just talking to these people who are experts in their field like Hardy and Bane, these are the people I want to hear from – to talk and have a good time with more than anything. Having a good time and socialising is one of the best things you can do for your career.

Full Look: HOMME PLISSÉ ISSEY MIYAKE, Trainers: Rhude x Vans

Full Look: Issey Miyake, Trainers: Rhude x Vans

What was growing up in Stoke like?

Growing up in Stoke was great, I’m a Midlands boy through and through. I loved the peace and quiet. There’s a lot of green grass and that always helps. I have a great family in my mum, dad and brother and a great group of friends —it was a standard, chilled, suburban life in Stoke.

What was the music scene at school?

There was a bit of rap, but not really that much, there was a lot of Indie and stuff. I was the only mixed-race person in my entire year, it was not multicultural, so I was the one bringing multicultural music. I remember bringing in Afrobeat songs and playing them at school and people didn’t really get it. But music has always been my biggest passion and I’ve always kept that regardless.

What made you want to pursue a career in music?

I just love music and I think the thing with music is that… the career and making of it aside, there’s no start to finish, or there’s no right way to do it, there’s no blueprint for it, and I love that. If it was any other sport I would find the most efficient way to do it, but with music, it is completely how you interpret it— it’s art. So for me, to have constant progression, constant learning… I’m a learning addict and you can’t learn everything in music so that gives me the opportunity to be happy for years and years because I’ll constantly be trying to crack something. It keeps you motivated when there’s so much to learn about.

I saw on Instagram you were excited about your new Mercedes AMG, how is it?

I’ve only just got it insured, it took me forever but I’m loving it!

What was the first song you played on your first drive?

It was a song called ‘Moonwalking in Calabasas’ by DDG which is an absolute banger! It’s so bassy and because the speakers in my car are so big I just wanted to play that first! Check it out.

What else are you listening to right now?

There’s a new artist I’ve just discovered, he’s only released one song and his name is Trey Qua. He’s from London and he only has something like 27,000 streams on this song… right, this needs more credit, this needs to be recognised. And I don’t know how I stumbled upon it, but he’s so good, this song is amazing!

Eyewear: Bonnie Clyde, T-Shirt: Rhude @ Mr Porter, Trousers: Prada @ Mr Porter, Shoes: GH Bass

Full look: Amiri, Trainers: Nike

Eyewear: Bonnie Clyde, T-Shirt: Rhude @ Mr Porter, Trousers: Prada @ Mr Porter, Shoes: GH Bass

There’s nothing quite like a hidden gem…

Absolutely! And when he’s huge I can tell him I was there from the start!

I’m sure there are many people who feel the same way about you, Wes.

You’ve made me blush now.

Those are all my questions so thank you for your time. Any last parting words for our

It’s been a great chat so thank you, and to all the readers, I hope they’re having a lovely day and it was nice to meet ya!

Follow Wes Nelson on Instagram

Full look: Amiri, Trainers: Nike

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