INTERVIEW + PREMIERE: “58” – An honest conversation with Wesley Montgomery

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY HEART EYES MAGAZINE.

Featured image by Christopher Abercrombie

Wesley Montgomery and I don’t really know each other. But we could have. Wesley and I are both from the Midwest (yay corn!) and we both attended Liberty University in Virginia. I saw him perform once in my four years at school, but our paths never crossed. That is, until about two months ago when a friend of mine sent me his music video.

Although Wesley and I still haven’t met in person, we did have a great conversation over Facetime. He shared his passion for authentic music, his plans for the future and his appreciation for his mom.

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Photo by Nick Scheetz

When you look at Wesley Montgomery, it makes sense that he would write music. He’s got that folksy artistic vibe about him fitting for indie artists. But he’s not quite the starving artist, vegan barista type. He’s an associate at Old Navy who simply loves good music.

Wesley has been singing and songwriter for years, but his music career jumpstarted during his time at Liberty University, when he started playing in coffee shops and record stores throughout the city of Lynchburg. It seemed that every time he performed, someone else would ask to place him on a bill. His music struck a chord (for lack of a less cringy metaphor). Although he’s got a voice all his own, Wesley pulls influences from across genres, like the simplicity and honesty of Ed Sheeran with a little bit of the edginess of Twenty-One Pilots. With his unique raw sound and vulnerable delivery, Wesley gives his listeners something they can truly relate to and feel deeply.

In the wake of his debut album 7 Hours, Wesley recounts the thrill of seeing fans enjoy his music: “Honestly, it’s a dream come true to go from writing songs in my basement in Ohio to shows where I noticed that people were singing my songs – things that were written in either good times or bad times by myself at like two in the morning. As you go from that to in front of like 20, 30, 100 people that are singing every word, it’s nuts!”

Wesley actually wrote many songs on the record several years ago, pulling inspiration from a previous relationship that took its toll. Wesley jokes that he wishes the album was a concept record, but unfortunately, the pain and vulnerability is real.

“Wating at the Bottom” is one of those vulnerable songs, but it provides a glimpse into Wesley’s “dorkier” side with a spoken-word break about a porpoise. It has quickly become his most popular song and just so happens to be his mom’s favorite off the album. But don’t mistake Wesley for a one-dimensional heartbroken high school kid.

“There is so much thought into so much of what you’re hearing,” said Wesley about the creation of 7 Hours. “I am super confident that if you listen to it the whole way through five times, I know that you would find something new every single time that kind of puts a piece of the story together. This is very intentional. This is my first full-length. This is literal years in the making … [From Lynchburg, VA it takes] seven hours to get to Ohio. And there are 14 songs on the album. That’s the first thing you kind of need to see if you’re going to go listen to this a bunch and you want to dive down the rabbit trail of how all these songs play together and the story that it tells.”

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Photo by Nick Scheetz

Wesley is already receiving some stellar feedback as evidenced by the occasional fangirl approaching him in Old Navy to ask for a picture. As he grows his fanbase, Wesley would love to expand his performance reach and book more shows, but for him, music is more about the journey. He’s grateful to see people loving and singing his songs. Regardless of whether a giant label picks him up or he just continues to make music in his own home, Wesley stays happy as long as he makes an impact.

“Why I started writing was I had these feelings,” said Wesley. “It sounds dorky, but I got these feelings and I gotta get them out. And at some point, people started listening to them. And the people that couldn’t do that, the people that couldn’t sit down with a guitar and get those feelings out – I got to do that through my stuff.”

The track “58” gives us a glimpse into some of those feelings. What started as his first love song transformed into a lament expressing feelings of anger, guilt and remorse over a broken relationship. When it comes to music, Wesley wears his heart on his sleeve. Nowhere is that more clear than the “58” music video (released today – Oct. 11).

Currently, Wesley is working on more music and performing at local Virginia venues. Stay up-to-date with all he’s doing by following him on Spotify and Instagram (@wesleymontgomerymusic). And if you find yourself at Speakertree Records in Lynchburg, VA, peek in to see if Wesley’s singing his heart out. Bring him some french fries and ketchup while you’re at it because his taste in sauce is a little boring. But his music definitely isn’t.

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