OC recording artist Tyrone Wells shares his love for music, faith and fatherhood.
By Lauren Felechner
The relationship between father and daughter is a unique and delicate one, as Dad naturally becomes the first man that she trusts and loves. A father’s initial connection with his daughter is a lasting impression that sets the foundation for their relationship—and her future ones. As Tyrone Wells—Christian pop/rock singer and songwriter—strums his acoustic guitar and croons in the recording studio, his 2-year-old daughter, Aria, twirls and dances next to him, mimicking his melodies. The connection between the two is apparent—that although he is a touring musician—when he is home, Wells remains a hands-on dad who picks out his daughter’s outfits and styles her Palm-tree ponytail himself.
Wells assumes several roles in life with a flourishing music career, fatherly duties, husband to his wife of nine years (been together for 12), and his heavy involvement in “The Messages Project,” but the groundwork and driving force for all responsibilities is his faith. With The Messages Project, kids with incarcerated parents are able to stay connected by receiving copies of a book and DVD that their parents recorded reading for them while serving time. According to Wells, this is a way for the children to feel a sense of healing and cope with the distance. “I think this program is close to the heart of God, and that’s where I want to be,” Wells stated.
Unlike most artists who get their big break by passing off a mix tape to a music exec, winning a reality talent show or achieving stardom as a child, Wells compared his “big break” to a compilation of baby steps that got him to where he is today. “I liken momentum of my career to slowly pushing a boulder uphill until that day when you’ve finally got to the top and it starts rolling down on it’s own,” Wells said. Before he signed with Universal, reached the number one spot on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter chart (multiple times), and landed over 50 TV and film placements with his music, Wells was native to Spokane, Wash., where he grew up with his mom, dad and four sisters. Wells would later go on to play in the Orange County-based band, Skypark, where he honed his craft as a multi-talented artist (he sings, plays guitar, piano and harmonica), and began to see longevity in his abilities. “I started to believe that it could be a career as I saw people reacting favorably to the music my friends and I were making in my college years,” Wells explained. Although Wells has a growing fan base, being a present father and loyal husband remains number one on his priority list. “I have learned that if I’m not extremely intentional about protecting family time, it will get gobbled up by other things. It took me a long time to learn this, because those other ‘less important things’ always seem so important—like money or success,” Wells explained. “It’s been vital for me to evaluate what is truly most valuable to me. My wife has really helped me better prioritize my values.”
“Tyrone Wells, the artist” is how most people know him, but his leading role in life is “Tyrone Wells, husband and father,” with his first “big break” being the day he found out he was going to be a daddy. Like most expecting parents, the life-altering plus sign provoked overwhelming emotion and excitement for the couple. “It was a joyful and also somewhat terrifying moment. I think it’s a very serious job to parent well. So many of my friends have had terrible fathers, and I really desire to be a good and loving one,” explained Wells. “If I recall, I just held my wife for awhile and let all of the emotions, fears and joys come.” Two years later, Aria is an abundance of energy that enjoys her dose of “Dora the Explorer,” “Tangled” and spending time with Dad on the “jumping bean” (a.k.a. the trampoline).
Between Aria’s vigor for life and Wells’ tour and performance schedule, sustaining a smooth-sailing household is a job in itself. When away from his family, Wells understandably experiences trials and tribulations of juggling fatherhood, marriage and his career. Some of his biggest challenges, according to Wells, is the realization that he can’t be as present as he would like to because of touring; and the difficulty of planning the family calendar because he is on the road or last minute concert opportunities arise. “The erratic nature of my schedule made it very hard for my wife to feel like she could count on me when it came to us planning our lives/time/future together,” Wells explained. However, as a songwriter herself, Wells’ wife recognizes the demands of his career and how much of him really goes into his craft. “I see that it’s not always easy, because my career often takes me away from her and the family. I’m truly grateful that even though it demands a personal sacrifice from her (being left alone as I tour), my wife is understanding and supportive of me and my work,” he said.
Fatherhood and a thriving career are both blessings in their own rights, however, Wells acknowledged that his success took years of behind-the-scenes work, and being a father in good standing with his family requires constant attention and diligence. So what words of wisdom can he share based on his experiences? “‘This is a marathon, not a sprint.’ A successful musical career typically takes a lot of work that nobody sees—years of working on your craft before people even know you exist. Also, be patient, work hard and don’t expect immediate gratification,” Wells said. Pertaining to fatherhood: “Be present during your kid’s childhood, because they will grow up so fast. My daughter is 2 and I already feel the truth of these words. I don’t want to miss or take her early years for granted because I was too busy doing other things,” he stated. Although he is the face to a notable name, Tyrone Wells maintains a life led by faith and love, and recognizes that he is not above making mistakes—just like anyone else. “Own your mistakes; admit wrong; and apologize when you do something hurtful. It seems that so many men cannot own up to our own downfalls. It’s healing for us to say—and for others to hear—the words ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I love you.’ This is not weakness. This is strength,” he said.
In early 2015, Wells’ fans can expect the release of a new album that is comprised of songs enthused by his every-changing inspiration. Through his music, marriage and charitable movement, Wells takes the lead in all of his endeavors—including his role as Dad. As Aria looks up at her daddy with her big, blue eyes, her admiration for her father is palpable, and she is undeniably a daddy’s girl. However, it’s even more clear that Wells is his daughter’s main man, and she’s got him wrapped tightly around her tiny, 2-year-old pinky finger.