If you haven’t heard of Aron Wright, you probably heard his music on a T.V show or soundtrack. Acoustic/indie/folk rock singer-songwriter, Aron Wright is from St. Louis, Missouri but is currently living in Nashville, TN. In 2008, Wright released his first debut album, In the Woods. A lof of Wright’s music has been featured on T.V shows: Grey’s Anatomy, Empire, Shades of Blue, Hart of Dixie, and more. Wright also co-wrote a song with Panic! At the Disco called, “Hallelujah,” which ended up being #3 on the Billboard’ chart for rock songs.
Wright’s voice is extremely mesmorizing, beautiful, and calming. I was able to talk with Wright and ask him about
Well let’s start off by having you tell me a little bit about yourself, who inspired you to become a musician, how you became a musician, etc…
I spent most of my childhood in St. Louis, MO until my family moved to Johannesburg, South Africa before my senior year in high school. My first instrument was the trumpet when I was ten and my teacher suggested the instrument because my “big lips would be good for playing those low trumpet notes.” I still play and you can hear trumpet on a lot of my recordings. When I was thirteen I mowed lawns to buy a guitar from a friend for $35.00. I mostly wanted to play guitar so I could sing with it and write songs. The year before, in sixth grade, I had a democratic style teacher that let us focus on what we loved most of the time — so I mostly sat around in bean bags and wrote poetry. The same year, my music teacher asked me to sing a solo at the school play and these two teachers made that a pivotal year towards songwriting at an early age.
I wrote songs and played in the marching, symphonic, and jazz band in high school. I played the trumpet, tuba, and bass trombone and wrote sappy love songs when I got home from school. I formed bands with friends and got kicked out of most of them for not being good enough. When I moved to Africa I attended a really small international school that didn’t have a band, so I focused on singing. I sang a Boys 2 Men song called, “One Sweet Day,” which became my nick name on the basketball team that my friends would shout when I missed a shot (there was a lot of shouting). In 1998 a friend there had bought a Patty Griffin CD at a Texas state fair called, Living With Ghosts, and that album changed my life. It made me realize one person and a guitar could move you.
I moved to Nashville for college and got a degree in Spanish and played music the whole time, forming a band with my brother Justin who played the drums. Over the years, I got involved in the scene, mostly just from proximity, and I played shows and made an album with my buddy, Mike Odmark. Then I started sending it to music supervisors who choose the music for T.V shows and got lucky a few times. One of those people was Kasey Truman at Chop Shop Music Supervision who would, almost a decade after meeting on MySpace, gave me a publishing deal and become my best friend. That’s the point when I was actually able to make a living from music. My parents are eternally supportive of whatever makes my brother and I happy, so I would’ve probably given up on making a living at it a long time ago if it weren’t for them, my brother and my wife.
“In the Sun,” was featured in a scene on the television show, Grey’s Anatomy. What was your reaction when you heard you song playing in the background?
Grey’s Anatomy is an awesome show and that scene was intense because it was the episode where Meredith takes Derek off life support! That wasn’t my first song on Grey’s but it is always weird and magical to hear your voice on T.V. It never gets old. Especially on Grey’s because music is historically a huge part of the show and it is louder than it is in almost any other drama. Shonda Rhimes (creator of Grey’s Anatomy) has just been really good to me and she is a genius so it really means a lot to me that she has had my songs in some of her show’s big moments.
My other question would be, what is that song truly about?
I actually didn’t write that song, it was written by one of my favorite songwriters, Joseph Arthur. You should listen to his original version and Chris Martin (Lead singer of the rock band, Coldplay) and Michael Stipe’s version as well. I think they all mean something different to the listener because the delivery is so different on each one, despite the lyrics being the same. It’s a great example of how music can speak where words leave off.
You co-wrote a song with Panic! At the Disco! One of my favorite bands 🙂 What was it like working with Panic! At the Disco!? Do you enjoy working with other musicians when writing music? Or would you rather do it by yourself so it can be more personal?
PATD! is an undeniably great band. Brandon Urie (Lead singer of Panic! At the Disco) is just so very talented. That said, I have never met any of the other writers on that song. I live in Nashville and I think all the other writers are in LA. The way most of the songs you hear on the radio are written is that there are sometimes several people, all over the world, contributing different things to the end result. So I got an instrumental track they put together with a producer and added some ideas to it. The track went back and forth with both sides suggesting changes and adding things and then once the band and A&R feels the song is as good as it can be, the band makes it all their own. The band wrote the majority of the song but the goal with a band this big is to get the BEST song you can, whatever way necessary.
I absolutely love writing with other people and most of the time it makes for a better song. Co-writing is a wonderful dance of ideas, egos, experience and respect. I also like writing by myself but I always inject myself and life experience into my songs and find shared experience with other people I write with so it is always personal to me.
It seems that you write a lot of songs that are on extremely popular TV shows. Which one are you the most proud of?
This is a hard question! Probably any one of the placements on Grey’s Anatomy because the songs on that show consistently amplify the emotion of the scene more than any show I have seen. Hearing someone else sing something I have written is much more fulfilling to me than hearing myself sing. It’s like hearing the song for the first time. It’s hard to be emotive from a song hearing your own voice because you’re thinking so much about how your voice sounds.
One of my favorite placements was hearing Courtney Love sing a song Sean Van Vleet and I wrote called, “Walk Out on Me,” on the show, Empire. She made it her own and I had this definitive moment where I said to myself, “We wrote that!” In moments like those, you feel like a conduit that pulled some magic out of the ether. My job as a songwriter is to get my ego and self out-of-the-way so I can be open enough to allow these things to come to me, almost subconsciously, so I can collect them into a meaningful thing.
Keep on rockin’ Aron! Hope to see you soon!