Get to Know the 'Uniquely Wholesome' Melancholy of Warren Wolfe
Written and photographed by Kat Kuo
If blue was a sound, it would sound like New York-based musician Warren Wolfe. Radiantly soothing, Wolfe’s music brings his listeners along with him on the quest for his own grounding self-discovery. His recent single “Namesake” is a beam of light through the gloom, a clear hallmark in a new era of melancholic sound. After years of making music with his friends and fellow musicians, including a rap/hip-hop collaboration with Orrin on “Rip Q”, Warren has come into his own as a producer, complete with his uniquely wholesome aesthetic.
Even when dealing with autobiographical topics, Warren’s music is uncompromising in its scope—as he put it, everyone needs a little emotional comfort. We had a chance to sit down with the musician and get to know a little bit more about his burgeoning career.
DRØME: Where did you grow up and what brought you to New York?
Warren Wolfe: I grew up in the suburbs in Pennsylvania, but always had this romanticized image of New York from going to Broadway shows with my mom. I ended up choosing to go to school here because I didn't see myself fitting in anywhere else.
D: Was there a group of people in New York that you were bonding with creatively that made you stay in New York?
WW: Definitely, I was really lucky to meet the people that I met at the beginning of college because they all inspired me to start making my own music. I depend on them as friends and collaborators, so yeah they are a huge reason why I decided to stay here after school.
D: When you first started music, you were classically trained. How did your training help you transition into the music that you’re producing right now?
WW: Without me even realizing it at the time, my entire childhood and teenage life of studying classical piano and voice gave me a foundation to express myself as an artist today. More importantly, I think learning the piano and the classical repertoire that I engaged with as a kid has helped me to approach music with a lot of sincerity and respect for the art of composing a track and arranging all elements of a song.
D: What other kinds of music you’ve experimented with?
WW: I definitely am trying to make as many different kinds of music as possible. Some of the first things I began producing were beats for my friend Orrin. I love bringing my own unique musical background to the table when I'm working with him on our material. I also had a phase of making mostly ambient music back in 2015 when I was in London and unable to record. I definitely see myself moving more towards the realm of composing, working with strings and choirs in the future.
D: Can you tell me where ‘Namesake’ came from? Was it a therapeutic process or more of a method to deal with personal upheaval for you?
WW: I wrote Namesake after the loss of my grandfather. The process of making the song was really challenging because I not only wanted to use the music as a means to cope, but also to reflect on his life and express how influential he was to me. In some sense he was the musical heartbeat of our family, and a massive reason why my mom got into singing, and therefore myself.
D: What would you say is the running theme throughout your music?
WW: A lot of my early music has been extremely autobiographical. I am still trying to develop as a songwriter and constantly grapple with what I have to say as an individual. I think identity has become a recurring theme in the newer material I've been working on—I am always considering the impact of what I say when classifying myself while also trying to provoke listeners on an emotional level.
D: What are you up to now?
WW: At the moment I am in New York, working in order to stay here and continue to be inspired by the people and the surroundings. I am beginning to finalize a collection of songs for a project, and will be performing as much as I can in the fall.