Exclusive Interview With WONDR
The North Carolina-based artist WONDR has been rapidly growing his presence in the music industry by delivering numerous hit singles that have produced millions of streams. He is a trailblazer for independent music, business, fashion, and culture and his latest offering ‘On Fire’ takes WONDR to new levels after being noticed by none other than Leo Messi’s flagship clothing line ‘The Messi Store. The single is now the official soundtrack to the clothing line’s recent campaign which you can check out HERE.
WONDR started writing, producing, recording, and engineering hip-hop records that captured his passion for racing, stories from his love life, and his journey to becoming a champion in the music industry. His music has earned millions of streams, video game placements, brand partnerships, and a growing fan base (RACE TEAM) across the globe. This year, WONDR and his growing team will be working with DJs, press, social activations, advertisements, and fashion collaborations.
Having always lived life in the fast lane it’s time that we fasten our seatbelts and get ready for the musical journey that WONDR is currently exploring. In a recent Interview with the WONDR, he shard the experience he had working with Leo Messi’s clothing line the “Messi store” and his new song “On fire”.Check out the interview below and stream “On Fire” below.
Explain in details your musical background?
My real name is Ryan, but I go by the artist name, WONDR. I’m a Pop/R&B artist from Raleigh, NC, currently living in Charleston, SC. My dad gifted me my first guitar in 2nd grade, and I’ve been hooked on making music ever since. I started out listening to Country, Rock, and Pop artists like Alan Jackson, Aerosmith, and Michael Jackson because that was the music my parents played around the house and in the car. Then, around 4th grade, thanks to an older sister and brother, I began listening to Hip-hop/Rap artists like 50 Cent, Petey Pablo, Ludacris, and most of the early 2000’s artists blowing up at the time. My dad even started blaring Jock Jams on car rides. While rap was becoming my go-to music genre, I continued to play rock and even formed a short-lived Muse cover band in high school playing the drums. Things transitioned in college and Rap/R&B began to consume my life. I started a rap duo my junior year, but that only lasted a year or so. To make a long story short, I ended up realizing a solo career in music was what I needed. Ditching the band and the duo, switching from rap to making more contemporary R&B music, I finally became the independent artist known as WONDR. I’ve been grinding for the past four years, developing my sound, brand, and catalog of music. I consider my music to be Pop/R&B, but my early influences of classic rock and country still stand out in different songs and videos.
‘On Fire’ was used as the official soundtrack for Leo Messi’s flagship clothing line’s recent campaign. How do you feel about this great feat?
Being mentioned in the same sentence as the G.O.A.T. is an incredible feeling and opportunity for me and my team. This campaign came off the back of a three-year relationship developed with a member of The Messi Store’s PR team, Giana Elenterio. We’ve had opportunities to work with G before, but The Messi Store campaign was special because it was built on shared values and approaches to becoming masters of our crafts. Our objective was to create a message that connected a brand so closely tied to one man’s success with masters of crafts outside the soccer world. With the help of my manager and director Sean O’Leary, videographer Ryan Pham who also did the editing, girlfriend Ev who starred with me, and team mates AJ The Menace and Hector Munoz who captured the production behind the scenes, we produced an advertisement that did exactly that. The Messi Store brand works like we do, with precision and intense focus. I enjoy working with like-minded people, and the fact that I was able to share this opportunity with my team was icing on the cake. I can’t thank The Messi Store team enough for the opportunity. The responses we continue to see from fans, DJs, media, entrepreneurs, and artists around the world have been inspiring to say the least.
How do you balance your music business with other obligations?
To be honest, it’s not easy. I’ve been in a relationship with my girlfriend for over six years, I have family and nephews that live in other states, and I have modeling, which is my side hustle for music. It’s not easy to balance all these things at once because I alone create 80-90% of my content. I outsource engineering and beats occasionally, and my team is slowly beginning to grow, taking a few things off my hands here and there, but being an independent artist is difficult. Especially when you don’t have outside funding or a label backing you. It’s challenging, and it gets scrappy financially, but I love it. I’m addicted to the hustle and reward that comes with pursuing my passion. I know I’m doing what I was put here to do, and for that, I’m thankful. Not everyone gets this opportunity, and I won’t take that for granted.
What’s the rationale behind the title of your new single ‘On Fire?’
“On Fire” is about starting a relationship with someone who seems too good to be true. She’s beautiful, strong, passionate and it seems like every guy wants to be with her. It gives me that feeling of, is she really into me like that, or does she expect more? Does she want someone more successful? Is she a player, or is she down to ride or die? The hook praises her at first by saying she looks so good she’s “On Fire.” but leaves us with a question of her intentions with the lyrics, “Time will always tell.” The verse dives deeper into who I suspect she may be, but at the end of the day, I realize I may have found the one.
What’s that wrong tenet about the music industry that you would wish to correct if given the opportunity?
The artwork and artists must be put first, protected, and given every opportunity possible to grow out into the world. I believe industry standards aren’t as relevant in today’s day and age. In particular artist/producer/writer/creative contracts and deal transparency should be workshopped. My team, SYFR Projects, works hard to communicate and educate every artist, partner, and brand we work with on the deal terms we write and fights hard to make sure that everyone involved is properly credited and compensated.
You have always wanted to live life in the fast lane. Could this be linked to inspiration you had from the likes of sporting legends Michael Schumacher and Dale Earnhardt Sr?
It is linked to my love for racing. These two legends definitely have a lot to do with it. I grew up only a few hours from Charlotte Motor Speedway and had the chance to attend some races when I was younger. I was instantly addicted. My dad was also a big influence on me because he loved cars too. He’d take us go-karting growing up and taught me and my siblings the basics of driving (how to do a burnout and drive a stick) at a pretty young age. Since then, I’ve been going to races almost every year and I for sure have aspirations of starting a WONDR Race Team and racing myself, outside of the music WONDR Race Team I already have.
How are you processing all the love you’ve been getting from listeners of ‘On Fire’?
It’s been pretty surreal seeing so much love from all over the world for this song. When I sat down for the first time with my new digital marketing team back in February, our intentions were focused on pushing a few other songs. In the middle of the meeting, I threw out that we should add this new single I had called “On Fire” in the mix because I was vibing with it at the time and felt it had potential. In the first week of push, “On Fire’ had this micro viral moment and took off running faster than the other songs we’d originally chosen. I started seeing fans from Brazil, India, Russia, Spain, you name it, sharing the song, sending me messages, and dancing to it in videos. It was crazy to watch and be a part of, and when we followed up with the Lyric/Mood video, people just went nuts. Although I’m still pushing to break as an independent artist, it’s these moments that make you feel like you’ve already made it. These fans make you feel like a star and give you confidence in your music. It’s been huge for myself and the team moving forward, knowing we have what it takes to make a real impact.
Was your childhood privileged?
My childhood was privileged. On top of being a white male born in the US, I still have a mom and dad who went from sleeping on my grandparent’s porch pregnant with my brother to garnering enough success to give three kids the encouragement to pursue their dreams every day. I’m privileged to have grown up around struggle and success. Being exposed in this way to both sides of the spectrum has given me understanding and opportunities most people have not had. My privilege is my driving force to never waste the opportunities I receive. I’m blessed to be where I am today, and if I wasn’t giving my all towards this dream I have, I’d feel selfish for wasting it. If I don’t work to become my best self, then I won’t be able to give my best self to others.
How do you relate with your fans and supporters?
I relate to the WONDR Race Team through my stories. Those stories are of the relationships I’ve had in the past and currently have, my drive for the things I want in life, struggles with bullying that I dealt with being different from everyone else growing up, my love for racing, and my passion for making music. I owe it all to a diverse team of people who are supporting me and creating art with me. This career has opened my life up to relationships with fans from all walks of life and every corner of the world. As I learn more about other people, I also get the chance to discover myself. It’s been these findings that continue to make me feel closer to my fans and supporters than anything else.