The wide open expanses of the American Midwest have been an inspiration for countless songwriters over the decades. Maybe it’s way the vast spaces can make you feel small and reflect on your own existence, or maybe it’s just simple boredom that drives one to pick up a guitar and pour their heart into a song. For Alexander Wren, growing up in Fort Wayne Indiana, exposure to a rich diversity of music from his parents from blues and gospel to soul informed his growth as a songwriter from a young age. In high school he would make trips south to Nashville to record his songs and brief foray on the TV show American Idol further fueled dreams to make it – whatever that might mean. A few years later that moment of realization came in a somewhat unlikely place. After touring the US in his Volkswagen sedan sleeping on floors and couches, one night Wren was riding to a friend’s house to crash after a show at 2am and eating cold pizza when it dawned on him he had found his own success. He was getting paid to travel around the country and play his songs to people. It was a sense of freedom and validation not everyone gets to enjoy in their twenties.
At the beginning of 2020 it seemed like that success was about to reach a new level. Wren’s first full length album “The Earth is Flat” was due for release in September and he had his first tour of the UK planned. But as the global pandemic set in Wren was forced to cancel over 50 shows and his album pushed back until next year. Rather then getting discouraged and letting his time go to waste, Alex got to work recording the refreshing pop single “Had Me at Goodbye”.
Speaking about the track Wren says “I used to think songs always had to have this deep philosophical meaning. But recently, it’s been quite freeing to allow myself a lighthearted and catchy chorus hook… just for the sake of adding a bit of hope to someone’s day- whoever that may be.”
“Had Me at Goodbye” introduces itself with chiming guitars interweaving around each other recalling classic Byrds or R.E.M. before Wren’s earnest world weary voice takes command of your attention. The song’s melodies are deceptively simple, but Wren’s voice carries it with such emotion infused with subtle hints of country and gospel that make it feel like a lost classic from another era. Even the song’s melancholy refrain manages to sound like a euphoric release for Wren. It’s a shame we’ll have to wait until 2021 to hear the rest of forthcoming album, but this latest single is sure to earn him plenty of new fans to share in the anticipation.
Introducing Alexander Wren:
Who is Alexander Wren? So first and foremost, I consider myself to be a singer/songwriter- emphasis on songwriter. Where others may outsing me, outplay me, or outperform me; I am interested in songwriting, and view that as my strong suit.
My music originally began as strictly sad and mellow indie / folk. But with maturation, I’m starting to lean more into unfamiliar territory- theatrical elements, industrial elements… I’m trying my best to think forward. As far as genre, I am originally from the midwest United States, so I think my biggest influence, whether I like it or not, is anything with angst… Elliot Smith, Jeff Buckley, Billie Holliday, etc. I did grow up with older parents so Ray Charles and Hank Williams Sr, were practically played on loop… So that’s kinda the canvas given to me!
What have you done so far and what are your future plans? Well, thus far I’ve put out a few EPs and some singles and consistently toured across the US. Now, I’m undergoing the process of making my first record! It will be a mosaic of songs that I’ve written throughout the four year span that would have been my college degree. There will be a consistent flow of singles off of it for the rest of this year; the full LP will most likely come out fall 2021.