In a strange way, emerging London-based pop singer-songwriter, AJ Wander, can look at the COVID-19 pandemic as the time his moment arrived. The result, his debut single, “Time Out,” arrives worldwide on 5 November 2020.
Wander, the son of a working musician and pianist father, had music in his genes from an early age. With varying instruments scattered around his childhood home in the London Borough of Bexley, this musical landscape inspired a young AJ to sing and play and to eventually write. He grew up listening to 70’s music and was influenced by some of the greatest songwriters of all-time: The Eagles, Elton John, Carole King, Bob Dylan and the Beatles.
Towards the end of his gap year, living with a musically oriented family in Australia, Wander decided to follow his heart and return home to pursue music. He enrolled at ACM in Guilford where he met fellow musicians and joined the indie band Tors. He left Tors when he felt he was no longer fulfilled creatively, as the band already had two members who were the main songwriters.
To pay the rent, Wander started performing live as a solo artist and became a big draw playing covers at piano bars and hotels across the UK. When the pandemic hit in early March, the ensuing shutdown forced Wander (and every other musician) to cease live performances. It was at this time that he started contacting music companies with his original recorded material and networked his way to a management and recording deal with Elevation, a USA-based music company that specializes in artist development and the production of music festivals. Simultaneously, Sarah Liversedge, MD of BDi Music, a highly respected music publishing company in the UK, signed Wander to an exclusive publishing agreement. BDi is administered globally by Bucks Music Group.
He recorded several tracks in Barcelona with producer Brad Mair (Dean Lewis, Jamie Cullum, Kygo) which culminated in songs for his debut EP planned for mid-2021. The first single “Time Out.” set to release on 5th November, was written soon after an explosive breakup, a realization that the kindest thing was to let his first love go… The track is a prime example of the type of emotive, substantive pop songwriting that makes Wander one of the British artists to watch in 2021.
Wander says, “My songs are a sort of self-therapy – they are a way of me dealing with my emotions.”
While his songs tackle relational pain lyrically, they are uplifting and not despairing. They carry a more cinematic, inspiring quality that stays with the listener in the truest sense of pop traditions. Wander’s emotionally engaging tenor and melodic piano riffs provide a warmth and depth rarely seen from a young songwriter. He takes pride in having found his true voice as a pop songwriter. He explains “I think people often get afraid of labeling themselves as ‘pop’ because they think it cheapens them. But I try to make pop with substance. I always knew I wanted to make music that spoke to my life and hopefully, to the lives of others. But I didn’t think, until now, I’d watch my ramblings come to life.”