Wes Nelson Interview: “It's been a dream start to the year"

We caught up with Wes Nelson to chat all about his hit song ‘Abracadabra’ with Craig David, his debut European headline tour, his production influences and what the rest of 2024 has in store.

Skiddle Staff

Last updated: 20th Mar 2024

For those who rise to fame as reality TV royalty, the expectation for what to do next usually consists of hopping from program to program ‘til your heart’s content. Wes Nelson took a different path, having instead decided to dedicate his career to his first and constant love, music. 

In just a few years, Wes has already racked up an impressive catalogue of collaborations, from working with the likes of Clean Bandit and Yxng Bane to supporting N-Dubz on tour last year. On top of that, he hasn't been afraid to experiment, have a laugh and be vulnerable with his music.

With his hit new single ‘Abracadabra’ seeing him collaborate with his childhood idol Craig David and a debut headline European tour on the horizon, Wes has already had a 2024 most would kill for, and he’s only just getting started. 

Considering everything he's got in the pipeline, we thought to have a catch up with Wes to talk all things Craig David, Europe and what is yet to come for the singer-producer. Scroll down to have a look at what he’s got to say! 


Hi Wes, where are you calling from?

"My Studio, I’ve got a bit of a home studio going at the moment." 


So we're only in March, but it feels like you've had a really hectic year so far. How’s that been for you?

"Honestly, the best start to the year, career wise, I could have asked for.

"From releasing a song with one of my childhood idols to going back into the villa- which was a full circle moment- and of course the song doing really well, it‘s been a dream start to the year."



So you’ve recently dropped ‘Abracadabra’, your big new single with Craig David. It's making waves on the charts. What can you tell us about it?

"It's a really fun song, and it’s one that doesn't carry too much weight.

"Like with some of my songs that have done the best, like ‘See Nobody’ and ‘Nice To Meet Ya’, while they don’t carry much weight, they do take weight off your shoulders. If you don’t want to think about things or to be too deep into lyrics, then that’s what it’s there for.

"When I was making it with Craig, we just had so much fun. When the session was so much fun in itself, you know you’re going to get a song that’ll be just as exciting.

"There’s definitely a time and a place to make sad and meaningful songs and I’ve certainly done that, but there’s something that’s so cheerful and youthful about a feel good banger like ‘Abracadabra’."


How did the collaboration come about?

"I was supporting Craig in Ibiza and he came and watched my set. Afterwards he was saying “I wish we could get in the studio.”

"I was like “Yeah, let’s do it, I’ve actually got a song ready for you” which was a complete lie. I hadn’t got a song ready but I had something in mind.

"I wrote the song during my plane journey home, finished it in the studio with Craig, and then that was ‘Abracadabra’."



Image: Craig David / Facebook.com


Like you said earlier, describing being like a musical hero for you, how influential had he been to your music before you linked up with him?

"Mega. So in terms of artists in the UK, specifically mixed black artists, there’s no one else to look up to.

"For me, he was the only one that I really could look up to because he’s one of the only people to cross that bridge into America. He carries those R&B vocals, which are so hard to land over here, but he did it.

"There’s literally no other UK male artist that would inspire me, that I can look to follow in their footsteps. So he’s the man, he’s the blueprint." 


Grab your tickets to see Craig David presents TS5 + Wes Nelson live at Dreamland Margate - HERE


Yeah, for sure. You're also joining them at Dreamland in Margate in June and then Hitchin Priory in August (both events are selling on Skiddle). How are you feeling about those events and the year ahead in general?

I’m really gassed for them, I’ve got a few coming up. We’ve got some in Ibiza and Drumsheds, which is going to be an iconic venue to go to, so there’s quite a few that I’m really looking forward to.

"I’ll also be coming back on stage with Craig to do ‘Abracadabra’, I get to perform with him a few times, not just supporting which is a whole different story. I'm lucky enough to be able to go along with him and learn from him as well. But this year is going to be exciting. 

"We’ve already got pretty much what we want, song-wise. The next song’s already lined up and it’s another smash, well if I do say so myself, it’s a smash.

"It’s a good feeling to start the year so strong and have a good plan of where we want to go. There’s plenty more singles to come, a lot of exciting live stuff, and my first ever European tour is coming up in May.

"Really excited to get out into Europe, where we've had such great following and fans. I’m excited for the rest of it."


Grab your tickets to see Craig David presents TS5 + Wes Nelson live at Hitchin Priory - HERE


Now, on your European tour, a debut headline European tour, you’ve been the main man and you’ve supported N-Dubz on tour in the past, how will the two experiences compare?

"Well, I did my first headline tour last year and we managed to sell out, which was sick.

"That was my first experience of being the main man, if you want to say, in front and centre, which was amazing. And you know what, it wasn’t even that, it was just the fact that everyone who’s there is there to see you.

"That’s such a cool feeling. People have gone out of their way, put their hands in their pockets and actually bought tickets. It’s hard to even comprehend. 

I can remember looking out then and seeing thousands that have come out to see me play, which is so cool, but now I get to experience that with Europe.

"I feel like being a main and a supporting act are comparable experiences in many ways, you still get that thrill when you’re running on stage. And N-Dubz are massive shows as well, like 20,000 people, two arenas, they're huge.

"But there’s something special about doing little intimate shows where I can hear people singing back and I can see the reactions on their faces. Especially when you meet them afterwards in meet and greets, I see what it means to them.

"So yeah, there are amazing aspects to both, the arena gigs and the intimate stuff. But yeah, the intimate stuff is special to me." 


Do you have a part of the tour that you're most excited to visit?

"Germany, I think because we actually went number two in the German charts with ‘Nice To Meet Ya’, that’s where it blew up the most.

"We had more streams there than we did in the UK in the end as well. It’s the first time I’ve ever been able to perform there as well, as because of COVID we couldn’t play in Germany and I had to get the vax just to fly.

"They said, a week before we were supposed to go to Wireless Germany, that no foreigners can come inside the country, so we had to cancel it.

"So it’s been what, two, three years on now? It’d be my first time performing a hit song there, which will be really cool." 



Image: Wes Nelson / Facebook.com


Well, we talked about Craig David and N-Dubz, and you've racked up quite a repertoire of collaborations like Clean Bandit and French Montana, for example. How do you think these collaborations have helped you develop as an artist?

"For me, having co-signs from these artists has been extra beneficial.

"Because of the perception of me as an artist moving forward, it was difficult for people to initially adjust.

"The music did the talking, but it helped for people to see me with the likes of Clean Bandit, Yxng Bane and Craig David, and think “Oh, he’s a musician. He’s rocking with them, they’re rocking with him, we may as well enjoy it.”

"I’ve also learned a lot from them. Like with Craig more recently, just learning how he works as an artist, especially live, is so cool to watch.

"He’s given me tips on how he operates and I’m just taking it all in. Not only are they great for my career, it’s great for the production process.

"(Clean) Bandit are so good production-wise, it’s handy to watch everything that they’re doing and take in their tricks. So not only is it a big learning thing, but it looks great and we’ve made some great songs in the process." 


You’ve said in the past to being inspired by and experimenting with 80s synths, while with the new song and some of your other music you’ve incorporated classic R&B and garage. Is that the kind of direction your music is going in, or are you continuing to experiment with new genres?

"I wouldn’t say garage, but I have done two garage songs, one with Steel Banglez and another with Stefflon Don. And ‘Abracadabra’ takes from garage as well.

"At the same time, garage isn’t what I’d go home to and listen to on a regular basis. I’d listen to it and love it, but my real love is for that R&B and pop mixed with an 80s synthwave, that sort of Tory Lanez and The Weeknd sound. 

"Yeah, I’d love to crack that. A bit more pop heavy, I think, as opposed to being straight R&B. It just lands nicer in the UK.

"And I like singing pop and I like writing pop, but with some R&B vocals. So if it’s still grounded in that sort of pop genre, but it’s still got elements of R&B and 80s, that’s the area. It’s the sweet spot." 




Beyond your music career, you've been involved with football, kickboxing, nuclear engineering, reality television. But what was it about your music that has led to you pursuing that over your other possible career outlets?

"I’m ADHD so I love doing different things and I have obsessions with things.

"A lot of people say “Oh, I didn’t know you did this” and it’s probably because a year and a half ago I would’ve been obsessed with it for eight weeks then kept moving on from thing to thing.

"I’ve become a bit of a learning addict, so with kickboxing, football and television, I’ve loved football and sports pretty much all my life.

"But then music has been the one constant from when I was tiny. That passion and love for music is the one thing that's always remained constant. 

"It’s always had, without sounding cliché, that dream to be a singer.

"Although I was good at engineering and football, I’m good at music and it’s the one thing that’s never withered. If I can be around music for the rest of my life, regardless of accolades or numbers, I’ll be a happy man.

"So for me, it's just what makes me happy, it’s sort of like therapy for me. It’s the one thing that I’ll always love." 


Which artists or producers, past or present, do you first look to when you're crafting a new song?

"You know what’s cool, because I love recording vocals, I’ve been getting into more vocal production now, looking at how I can manipulate things and do stacks and all these bits and pieces.

"Charlie Puth as well, I’m about 15 hours into his course now, but his attention to detail is so cool.

"The way producers stack vocals is great. Billie (Eilish) too, I know Finneas does a lot for her. I love listening to the way they produce their vocals." 

"Most musicians are perfectionists, but I think I take it to another level, so everyone who works with me knows I’ll spend hours and hours just working on a particular sound, just to make it how my head hears it. 

"I didn’t know how to capture that so it would take so long, but now because I’ve been grinding away, I’m getting better with that sound selection.

"Learning all these shortcuts from the likes of Charlie Puth and the way they stack things saves a lot of time so I can do a lot of things. But Charlie, especially, I think his production and the way he structures songs is super sick." 


Aside from your tour in May, your other events, what else have you got planned or looking forward to for the rest of 2024?

"I’m looking forward to getting out of the English weather because it sucks right now.

"I’d like to get to the States and do some work out there for sure. There’s a couple of artists that I've been speaking to that I’d love to get in, I’ve just never had the chance to get it into diaries and stuff. 


If you could take three tracks to a desert island, what would those three tracks be? 

"I would take ‘Never Too Much’ by Luther Vandross. It’s my mum and dad’s wedding song, so it’s a precious song to me.

"That’s kind of happy, so maybe I’d take ‘Master Blaster (Jammin)' by Stevie Wonder, and ‘Young and Beautiful’ by Lana Del Ray, which is something sad.

"I’m trying to cover everything there. Wholesome, sad, happy, it’s a cool way to go by." 



Want to see Wes Nelson live? Visit his artist page on Skiddle and find out where he's playing - HERE

Grab your tickets to see Craig David presents TS5 + Wes Nelson live at Dreamland Margate - HERE

Grab your tickets to see Craig David presents TS5 + Wes Nelson live at Hitchin Priory - HERE



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