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Deeper than the surface: Get to know Wash, emerging Contemporary Soul singer

Get to know Wash.

Wash

Last week, I engaged in conversation with a new artist named Wash. You might know him. Recently the 24-year-old singer was signed to Interscope Records, and he has a popular record featuring French Montana titled, “Can’t Trust Thots” currently syndicated on television and radio. His song and momentum might seem disposable and flighty but Wash is everything but a one-hit wonder. He has depth and prowess, which at times is far more pertinent in this industry than talent, if you ask me, and he’s really intelligent. Growing up in Port Arthur, Texas wasn’t the easiest experience for the singer and his family, but strong will and resistance separated him from what the other young people in his community were doing. In this interview and in the near future, you’ll learn so much more about Wash including his gospel upbringing, the instruments he plays (piano, saxophone and drums) and his musical savviness.


Inspiration behind “Can’t Trust Thots”

“If you listen to the verses, it actually has like real substance to it — as far as what goes on in the club. We just sat down one day and my writer, Chef Tone, who is also R. Kelly’s protégé, actually came up with the song. Then I put my two cents in and then, it was history from there. It was like magic flowing in the studio. I definitely have other songs like “Can’t Trust Thots” but I want to extend my creativity and show people, which I am on this mixtape I got coming out sometime in March. It’s called, “5 Miles To Port Arthur” and I am really inspired by older artists: Marvin Gaye, R. Kelly, Anita Baker; you’ll definitely hear those sounds in my music. There’s a single coming out soon.

Chef Jones is a renowned songwriter-producer who has written for the industry’s elite (Justin Bieber’s “Heartbreaker”, Trey Songz’s “Bottoms Up” featuring Nicki Minaj, “Invented Sex” featuring Drake, and more) for years on end. Last year, the industry heavyweight took Wash under his wing; flying him to Atlanta for a round of artist development before arranging a meeting with a handful of Interscope executives. Stunning the label with his talent, personality and overall stage presence — yes, he can dance as well — he was able to land a deal on the spot.

On his start

“I came up in church. Both of my parents are pastors. My father, he sang. He used to be in a band. My mother sings, song write. I got 3 sisters who also sing. Oldest one was actually on [The] X Factor. She sing background on [The] X Factor. The other one actually plays keyboard for Beyoncé. That’s how I learned how to play the keyboard, as a church musician. I played the drums as well. Just a musical family. We’d be up until like 3 o’clock in the morning. Up, singing. My mother in the other room, writing. That’s just the kind of life I grew up in. Growing up Port Arthur, it was a very crazy experience because the city is actually poverty-stricken, a lot of violence and craziness when I was growing up. Music was my only outlet. I actually worked at an oil refinery for a little while. I was like 50 feet in the air. I was a welder, and I almost lost my life a few times on the job. My brother [Chef Jones] hit me up like, what you doing? He actually found me on YouTube. We had been knowing each other for three years but we never really sat down and work. He asked hat I had going on. I told him, nothing. Even though I had my job. I quit my job and the next day, I grabbed about 5 shirts, 3 pairs of pants and I was out. I was grinding it out in the studio, recording, running on the treadmill and singing. You know, all that good stuff. Now I’m here, talking to you guys.”

On his name

“I played basketball when I was in middle school, going to high school. My ninth grade coach, he actually used to call me Wash a lot. I couldn’t stand him calling me that until I seen this girl — I kind of liked her too — and the way she said it was so intimidating. She called me Wash one day, and I was like, ‘You know what? That’s going to be my nickname.’ It stuck with me from there.”

On GrungeCake

“I’m a very visual person so I thought of a cake with caramel on it. A little crunchiness, maybe like a little brown sugar sprinkles on top. It sounds like something good. If there was an actual cake called GrungeCake, I’m sure I would like to try it.”

Words of inspiration to anyone who wants to follow their dreams

“I would tell them to keep it up. No matter what anybody tells you. As much as I love my people and my father, he didn’t want me to leave. He actually didn’t speak to me because I had left. He wanted me to stay and live my life as a regular human being, which I don’t knock, but for me I know I wanted something more. I would tell anyone that’s willing to listen, if you have something that you want to do or a dream you want to follow, don’t listen to nobody. Feel the struggle in your heart. Follow your dreams. Do what you do because I always said to myself, I’d rather be an old guy and I did everything in my power to fulfill my dreams than versus me saying I coulda, I shoulda did this. I’m going to give it my all too. I’m not going to have a plan B. This is my personal advice. If you feel strongly about something, don’t have a plan B. Follow that plan A and execute it to the best of your ability. Just give it your all.

Most difficult thing as a new artist

“The most difficult thing for me would be that I’m not exactly where I want to be. Other than that, phone calls and interviews to me that’s the easy part. I understand what I want comes with time. I definitely want to make a crazy mark in the game. That’s probably the most hardest thing.”


At the end of our interview, I told Wash that he’ll get to where he wants to be if he follows everything he advises. He agreed, and stated that he will stay focused. I’m so looking forward to writing about Wash again in the near future.


GrungeCake

Written by Richardine Bartee

It’s her unprejudiced love for people that’s taken her this far. Join Richardine on her journey as she writes history into existence, one article at a time. Richardine is a member of the Recording Academy/GRAMMYs.

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