NPR Live Sessions/KUTX – Wes Denzel performs “Don’t Change” Shot at Confluence Park in San Antonio,TX by Michael Minasi, mixed by Jake Perlman.
A Conversation with Wes Denzel
By Aaron “Fresh” Knight
Among all the successful talent emerging from Central Texas – Waco’s Hi-Five, San Marcos’ BROCKHAMPTON, Austin’s Gary Clark Jr. and Black Pumas – you can add another rising star to the list: Wes Denzel. The budding rapper/songwriter has been quietly building his career out of San Antonio. He released the EP Every Summer in 2019 and followed up with the full length I Was Almost Happy in late 2020. I got a chance to chat with Wes Denzel briefly about his music, dealing with the pandemic, and more.
I first have to ask, how does it feel to be named Artist of the Month?
It’s super awesome! I’m thankful that you thought enough of me to tell the rest of the station that they should consider me. This is one of the coolest things I’ve been a part of.
With your latest project “I Was Almost Happy”, can you speak to the inspiration and meaning behind that title?
The album is a story that tells of a relationship from start to finish. The relationship didn’t work out, even though it had some potential and so many moments with this person. So, I was almost happy. It’s a good way to describe a failed relationship. Many of us will go through multiple heartbreaks in our life. Often we tend to look outside of ourselves for happiness, and sometimes we can even depend on our partner for that. Ultimately, we find out at the end of the album that I am responsible for my own happiness. And that’s what I wanted the listener to realize. No matter how many problems you have, or joyous moments, you still have it in you to pick yourself up. And that’s beautiful.
I recently saw the video for your song “Don’t Change”, and I have to ask, how do you come up with the concepts for your videos? They are some of the best and most original I’ve seen from an indie artist.
For “Don’t Change” specifically, it was inspired by Snoop Dogg’s video for “Sensual Seduction.” Trent Owens was able to execute and surpass my original idea and clips that I sent him. The sound of the song just really gave me that old school vibe. With other videos, I am just always trying to be creative….watching old music videos, fashion shows, movies, looking for new locations I haven’t seen used. Kanye West and The Weeknd are big inspirations when it comes to content, although I don’t have the budgets they have to work with, I still try to go crazy visually. I’m always trying to push myself creatively so this is another outlet that allows me to do that!
In the new year and with still dealing with the COVID19 pandemic, 1. how have you adjusted to things since the start of the pandemic, and 2. What can we expect from Wes Denzel in 2021 with the continued pandemic?
The pandemic allowed me the time to finish my album! I held on to it for a while to make sure all the songs were ones that I could live with. I’m also a homebody, and became a new father during the pandemic. So things have been very fortunate for me.
In 2021, I plan to release a song every week of the year. “I Was Almost Happy”, the movie, will be available on streaming platforms. I have new merchandise releasing. There will be a DJ set on KUTX on February 13 that I’ve curated and will have the playlist available on Spotify, Apple Music, and tidal immediately after it’s been played. And I’m Artist of the Month! 2021 is a success already.