BACKSTAGE: Avery Wilson
Avery Wilson is conquering the music world all before the ripe age of 20. We first noticed Wilson when he was on "The Voice" and somehow didn't win, but that was a blessing in disguise. With chart-topping producer Sean Garrett and legend Clive Davis now behind Wilson, he is set up for greatness. But make no mistake about it - Wilson has a defining personality that isn't overshadowed by his famous support team. Being brought back on "The Voice" to perform his new single "If I Want To" in one of his "All Black Everything" ensembles, we love the evolution and confidence Wilson has to bring a ballad to the table in the music world filled with auto-tuned synthesizers. We chatted with Wilson about his "Euro-Chic" personal style, his first time meeting Clive Davis, and his future plans to conquer both the fashion and music industries.
Labeling Men: Tell us about how you got started in the music industry.
Avery Wilson: Well, I've always been around music because I was focused on dance as a young kid - I'm still a young kid. I was mainly focused on dance and I was singing around the house a little bit, not thinking I had a talent for it. One day I was in the car driving with my dad and he heard me sing in the back of the car and he stopped all the music and went to me, "Man, do that again.” So I did it again and he was like, "Okay, we're going to stop everything else that you're doing now - dance and sports - you don't know what you have, so we're going to focus on this and really cater to this.” So it really came from my dad noticing that I have talent. Growing up, I was always surrounded by music so I've always had those influences in some type of way, just never thought I'd be singing.
Labeling Men: What would you say was your "big break?”
Avery Wilson: I was doing some little shows around town before I got into contact with Sean Garrett and Clive Davis and just working on getting my confidence up. My dad and I were working around town doing different things. I did this show where if you won, you got to meet Sean Garrett and I did. Then I went on "The Voice" and I did the show and I got eliminated off that and it was both the best thing and a nightmare for me. When that happened, Sean came to my house right after, he was interested from before the show and he started to mold me as an artist and develop and develop and after a while he said, "There is somebody I want to take you to, one of my friends.” I was like "Okay, I have no idea who this is!" So we go to the Sony Music Building, up to the top floor and lo and behold, it’s Clive Davis' office! I go in shock and thinking, "I'm going to be singing for Mr. Clive Davis himself.” I sang for him and he was very intrigued with what I was doing and the song that I sang and he was really ecstatic, and it went from there and now we've been working to together and we released my single "If I Have To.”
Labeling Men: You've met a lot celebrities; who were you star-struck most by?
Avery Wilson: To be honest with you, nobody. I respect everybody and their artistry, so it’s not really a star-struck thing for me because I also feel that I would look at them as what I want to be. So I put that in my mind is that I am among people who are like me, are of my kind. I never wanted to put myself in a position where I'm a crazed groupie fan.
Labeling Men: [laughs]
Avery Wilson: I'm a fan of everybody's work and what they do; I'm a big supporter of artists.
Labeling Men: Tell us about some of your inspirations musically.
Avery Wilson: Growing up, I listened to a lot of Whitney Houston, a lot of Usher, a lot of Celine Dion and those are the people that I banked on and imitated to a T. People that I listen to are big singers and really played a part in who I am today, which is super cool and hopefully I can work with some of them throughout my career.
Labeling Men: Did you have a favorite judge on "The Voice?”
Avery Wilson: To be honest, no, I feel like they all bring something different, different genres, different perspectives and views. I think it’s really healthy that they have all these different views and opinions and experiences. I can name a bunch of all of their songs, from Cee-Lo to Blake, Adam, Christina, Gwen Stefani, Pharell, Usher, the list goes on and on. I'm such a fan of music so everybody really has me inspired.
Labeling Men: That's great! Tell us a little bit about your personal style.
Avery Wilson: My personal style is global, it’s European chic, it’s edgy, it’s really very clean, tall, long-lined things that accentuate my height and that’s really it. I like to be comfortable but at the same time cutting-edge and pushing the envelope, it’s like a safe "outside the lines but in the box" kind of thing.
Labeling Men: Fair enough. Do you have any favorite go-to brands?
Avery Wilson: I do. Givenchy, Fear of God, Acme Studios, there are so many, just to name a few, that I always check for.
Labeling Men: Do you have a go-to item?
Avery Wilson: I wouldn't say a go-to item, but there is a go-to outfit for me. All black everything. Black top, black pants, black shoes. For me, that works all the time. [chuckles] If I need to be ready in five minutes that's what I’m going for. If I want some color, I'll put on a jacket, a sick sunglasses or something like that.
Labeling Men: Do you feel like you dress differently when you're performing as opposed to day-to-day?
Avery Wilson: For me, I think there is a little separation but not too far off. When I perform, I like to feel a little over the top, pushing the envelope a little bit but also I like to do that day-to-day as well, but I like to be more relaxed and comfortable on the daily.
Labeling Men: We know you were just on the Today Show; was that your first national morning show?
Avery Wilson: Actually, it was, which was a really cool experience. To be honest, I learned so much doing that. Yes, it was my first national experience but at the same time, it didn't feel like it because I was on "The Voice" before, so it was like going back to the place I first started.
Labeling Men: What time did you have to get up for that, it must have been really early?
Avery Wilson: I got up at 3:00 a.m. because it’s a process. Warm ups, getting ready, trying on clothes, all the things you have to do to be ready for TV at 7:00 in the morning.
Labeling Men: Wow, that's crazy!
Avery Wilson: Yeah, that's behind, behind the scenes.
Labeling Men: Tell us about your single you were promoting on there.
Avery Wilson: My single, "If I Have To," is an emotional ballad. It’s me confessing my love to the girl that I am talking to, just letting her know that it doesn't matter what it is, I'll walk on fire, go to the end of the earth to make her happy and see how much I love her. And that's how I truly am, very compassionate and I wanted that to come across, and I think it does and am happy that people are enjoying the song as well because a ballad at this time of year is tricky, but I put my heart into it and I think people recognize that.
Labeling Men: Tell us about your future plans.
Avery Wilson: You should be expecting an album most definitely later this year. You should expect a lot of different sides of Avery. It'll be something interesting people will experience and realize I'm not just a ballad-er and there are a bunch of different sides. And I mean, even with fashion, I'm being introduced to the world of fashion and that's a journey that people can look forward to as well.
Labeling Men: Are you interested in collaborating with anybody on the fashion side or the musical side?
Avery Wilson: Yes, I am. I definitely would love to do a duet with Beyonce or Sam Smith. On the fashion side, I'd love to get into the fashion houses, Givenchy, all these different fashion houses and get connected with them and wear their clothes and build a relationship with them from there.
Find out more at www.averywilson.com
Interview by Nisim Frank
Photographs provided by Avery Wilson