For most of us, 2020 has been a strange and ultimately perhaps a bit of a depressing year. With the pandemic hanging over us, there have been limited chances for creativity, fun or even career progression, and the world has felt loaded with tragedy.
For London-based songwriter AJ Wander, though, it might just have been the kick up the rear end he needed. Escaping a world of playing piano bars to make rent – that’s not an option anymore after all – he’s released his debut two singles instead, charming pop tracks full of emotion, entitled ‘Time Out’ and ‘Way We Walk’. Both are loaded with potential.
I caught up with AJ to reflect on a year crammed with change…
Congrats on what’s clearly been a very successful lockdown. How has all the contractual stuff come together for you?
Thank you! Itʼs definitely been a crazy time for me. I feel so lucky to have been able to take something positive from this year. I recorded a bunch of tracks with my friend and producer Brad Mair just before lockdown hit in March. I then sent out the tracks to a bunch of industry and subsequently spent much of lockdown in Zoom meetings.
At the end of summer I took on a great team that Iʼm so excited to be working with!
Can you tell me a little bit about what brought you to this point?
This has always been my dream situation…to be releasing music that means so much to me. Iʼve been singing for as long as I can remember, but the piano playing and writing kicked off for me when I was around 14. I joined a band called ʼTorsʼ whilst studying in Guildford in 2015. I spent an amazing few years with the band before leaving to pursue a solo career.
I must admit I got a little side-tracked after leaving the band and drifted into performing at piano bars and hotels in order to pay my rent. I spent two years playing covers for cash, whilst I was still writing during this time, I spent most days kicking myself for not putting my all into my own music.
Lockdown this year forced a shift in attention for me as gigging was no longer an option. I finally started focussing all of my attention onto my artist project which ultimately led me to the point I’m art now.