New York City-based singer-songcrafter Alexander Wren unveiled “Full Time Blues,” the latest from his forthcoming debut LP To Whom It May Concern, set for release on May 19th. “For those unfamiliar with this talented artist, he fits somewhere in the same vein as Mt. Joy and Father John Misty, with a sound that truly must be heard,” noted Chorus.fm in their premiere. “Get ready to discover music’s next big indie artist.”
In order to independently fund the creation and release of To Whom It May Concern,, Wren worked a grueling, dead-end job to earn and save the money he needed to fully realize his vision. It took years.
“I wore hairnets. I cleaned toilets. I scraped dead rats off of the New York City sidewalk,” Wren recalls. “I’ve been scoffed at and mistreated by customers. I’ve been underpaid and exploited on a daily basis. I have been what Marx calls the proletariat. I have learned about the wealth divide in America in a very real way and in New York City of all places, with the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor.”
“In an industry filled with sad indie artists, I think that I want to continue leaning into this more Fauvist corner of music,” Wren told Chorus.fm. “This traditional side with excitement and energy. This narrative side of music that isn’t only about angst and failed religion. This side of music that just feels classic – that transcends daily struggles and makes you want to go out on the weekend.” “Full Time Blues” follows the previous releases of album tracks “The Earth Is Flat,” “Everything Is Meaningless,” and “Green! Green! Green!”
LISTEN: “THE EARTH IS FLAT”
LISTEN: “EVERYTHING IS MEANINGLESS”
LISTEN: “GREEN! GREEN! GREEN!”
Alexander Wren has set off to do nothing less than resurrect the classic American song. The NYC-based, Fort Wayne, Indiana-bred artist grew up under the roof of an Epiphone-playing wedding-singer mother and a Hank Williams-loving CPA father, ‘salt of the earth’ people who taught him to dream and work hard. Sitting on a red plush bench in the backseat of his family’s white ‘75 Buick, he was first introduced to the sacred sound waves of Clapton Unplugged, Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, and more.
After high school years spent making monthly trips to Nashville to record his lifetime’s-worth of songs, Wren did a stint in Hollywood on American Idol, said no to college, and found himself driving south on I-65 bound for Music City, and this time for good. After sending a cold email to producer Micah Tawlks (COIN, Usher, Haylely Williams), they began a longstanding collaboration. The pair created Wren’s debut EP, The Good in Goodbye, which has since garnered something of a cult following, amassing millions of streams on the Spotify platform alone.
Wren then embarked on a songwriting journey, discovering the long-forgotten ghosts of New York City’s Tin Pan Alley like Irving Berlin and Brill Building giants such as Johnny Mercer. His sophomore EP, Assorted Love Songs, soon followed - a product of heightened devotion to the craft. Every day he sat at his desk with a full pot of coffee, time on the clock, and the intention of writing a song from start to finish.
"That was when I began to recognize my differences as an artist and accept them as my strong-suit. I don’t know too much about the state of modern music, but I do know that many people can out-sing and out-play me. A lot of young artists make pumping out ultra cool tracks look seemingly effortless. But when you start to strip away all of these embellishments you are simply left with a song - a melody to sing and a lyric to ponder. This is my specialty.”
In the silence of 2020, an idea began to take shape: To Whom It May Concern,.
A mosaic of songs plucked from Wren’s exhaustive catalog, most of which written throughout his time spent in Nashville, To Whom It May Concern, resembles an artistic Frankenstein of a debut album. Addressed to a God, a woman, and an audience largely unbeknownst to him, Wren views the project as an opportunity to step onto the stage and formally introduce himself. The amalgamation represents what he considers to be some of the most memorable and meaningful of the lot - the 500+ songs that credit over eight years worth of time towards his 10,000 hour quota.
Tawlks and Wren employed peculiar instruments that they found while scouring the dusty corners of the musical attic - vibraphones, theremins, and clarinets to name a few. Wren’s old soul emanates; resulting is a lush soundscape that feels timeless, yet somehow nostalgic, as if it were made of an entirely unplaceable era.
Though, the essence of the project quite possibly lies within its understated B-side, “Barely,” a country / folk song exploring his near decade long struggle with anxiety disorder. The idea came while in a hospital bed upon experiencing an acute panic episode. After taking time to recover his physical health, “Barely” was the first song to appear while back at the writing desk. Tawlks decided to feature this original voice memo captured by Wren in the final production. Over palpitating percussion and traditional pedal steel licks, he discloses a prayer.
Now a New Yorker living off of Central Park West, he says that things are looking up - but the realization of this project did not come easy. After pouring the good part of 2022 solely into research and administrative work, unanswered emails and incessant rejections ensued. He decided that the burden laid upon him to fully fund the creation and marketing efforts of his debut. So he picked up a service job.
And this is what Wren finds so exciting about this project. “Everything about it,’ he says, ‘the songs, the productions, the photo and design - all of it. It’s all intentional. Everything about this project has a story to tell. I’ve lived all of it.”
In a world dominated by numbers and content and instant gratification, he humbly strives to think differently, ever in search of meaning and fulfillment. And looking to the future he is planning to keep his metaphorical blinders up - following nothing but his inner compass, the North Star of the song. He sees music as less of a vehicle for popularity in the 21st century, rather, a rich sociological tradition that we get the privilege of contributing to.
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN, TRACK LIST
EVERYTHING IS MEANINGLESS
THE EARTH IS FLAT
GREEN! GREEN! GREEN!
FULL TIME BLUES
BIG BAD APPLE
THE LONG WAY
THOUGHT I’D HIT THE LOTTO
CONNECT WITH ALEXANDER WREN:
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | YOUTUBE | BANDCAMP | TIKTOK | SPOTIFY