Growing up in the industry, Tim Wheatley (son of iconic artist and manager Glenn Wheatley) had a lot to say in his Savvy Seven this week. With the recent release of his new single 78 Benz Tim is currently touring the UK, soon to return to Aussie shores to show us what he’s been working on, since venturing into the world as a solo artist. Unearthing some great tips for emerging musicians, read Tim’s advice below..
- Who was your first musical inspiration? Why?
There is no doubt that the reason I play music is a direct result of my father’s [Glenn Wheatley] influence.
Growing up, I would kick and scream if I couldn’t go to the shows he was working on, and always wanted to skip school so I could spend the day at his radio station. All I ever knew was ‘music’ as a result of being joined at my fathers hip.
I still idolise him and the way he conducts himself in an otherwise ruthless industry littered with ‘snakes amongst the cane’. Everybody I meet has a story to tell about him that paints him in an honest light.
- How did you get started in music and did you ever even think you’d get this far?
I wanted to be a part of the music business before I knew it was in a singer/songwriter capacity. Everyone I knew growing up was involved in one way or another.
I joined a band in high school, which went on to become ‘The Sparrows’ and have spent the last 16 years travelling and performing various incarnations.
As for getting this far… No. There have been times when I thought I would never be able to carry the weight of the name ‘Wheatley’. At times it felt impossible, thus I dropped the name and toured as ‘Crooked Saint’ for four years to avoid comparison when I went solo.
It wasn’t until I left Australia for the USA that I felt comfortable to use my real name. Now I wear it proudly.
- What has been one of your most defining moments in your career?
This is an easy one. On March 17th 2016 (my birthday), I played ‘The Troubadour’ in Los Angeles. Just walking around backstage gave me goosebumps. Then gracing that hallowed stage and seeing my name in lights on Santa Monica Blvd like all those greats that played before me. I guess it felt like for just a second, I was at the same level as bands I grew up listening to.
‘Live’ shows make up the majority of my personal watershed moments over things like radio play and chart positions.
- How has your music practice changed over time?
Since going solo upon moving to LA, I have changed my methods completely. I find in the solo format simply performing and trialing songs live is the best method. But when performing the odd band show and/or recording, the session musos in Los Angeles require so little time to learn that I seem to become the one trying to keep up!
- My top business tip for new artists is…
I have countless conversations with artists that should be further along in their careers about why they/we are not breaking ground or moving as fast as other artists.
The fact of the matter is, nobody owes anyone anything. Record labels will sign ‘shit’ bands. Uninspiring people that haven’t earned their stripes will get better shows than you. Radio stations will play terrible music. But complaining about it will only waste time that you should obviously be using to better your craft.
Then take what you have made to the people and don’t be afraid to fail. So many people are just recording a good song, putting it online and praying for a fucking miracle. If you want lightning to strike (which I believe it does), then spend your time outside in the storm. If you want to be the ‘world champ’, get in the damn ring. Sitting on the sidelines and complaining, makes you as bad as the people you’re trying to cut down.
- My biggest career mistake has been…
My old band ‘The Sparrows’, had the support of Sony a number of years back. They had some different ideas that were contrary to the way we saw our band, and maybe had we met them somewhere in the middle, I can’t help but think I would have 5 albums to my name by now.
- In my opinion, the most important issue facing the music industry is…
Online streaming royalties; or the lack there of.