OPINION: Wells works to spread sound, inspire
"No, Tiffany!! Why don't we just take two different cars? We are not going to have any space at all in dad's small car all the way to Idaho!" Wally Wells shouted.
"You don't need to make it complicated, Walter! It's a simple drive there and back for Jacqui." Sheldon argued while I just sat back and giggled at their natural sibling rivalry.
It was early morning in the fall of 2010 in rainy Seattle and we were getting ready to drive to Moscow so I could be introduced to the University of Idaho campus. We ended up squishing into one car and for the next six hours, I took in all the advice my family had to give to prepare for my first step into the real world. My next few visits with them consisted of listening to the advice they had to give and applying it to my life.
"Just keep on thinking, Jacqui! Don't ever stop that. Especially in college!" Wells said to me as a goodbye, right before I shut the back door to my Taata's car and they drove away back home.
Wells had just graduated from High Point University of North Carolina that spring with a communications degree and now had the business world to battle. He knew inside his heart that both writing and performing were his true talent, he just didn't exactly know where to take that.
He grew up living in plenty of extremely different environments. His parents are Michael Scott of Seattle and Lydia Wells of Noorvik. His roots run deep in the NANA region where he grew up learning to Eskimo dance and perform with the Northern Lights Dancers. His played baseball in high school and later carried out in college where he was a pitcher in both Arizona and High Point. In the classroom, he learned to advance his writing skills and it even led to a summer program with the Yale University.
That experience led him to helping backstage with shooting the movie Big Miracle, in Anchorage and received his first end-credit title. His name was put on the map and he did not stop there. He later released his first single "Humble" in which he speaks about how he was parented and how college has both broken him down and picked him up. Most importantly, he spoke about one of our Inupiaq Ilitquisait values, humility, and how it helped build him into who he is today.
"We 'bout to take you back to church. We 'bout to hit you where it hurts but it will not be the worst; that will be the day when you ride around in a hearse. Yes, I'm in the church and yes I hear the preacher. She says 'rise for the riches because all this talk is cheap.' All of this humbleness, I bundle them in heaps so when I back out all you hear is me. You're a living contradiction and that can be a problem. You risen to the top but you really at the bottom." Wells raps. You can buy this single for $0.99 on iTunes.
"Since you came up, you have no regrets. Last to remember, first to forget but you can't stay out of trouble. I guess you forgot how to stay humble." The chorus sings to me because he explained the troubles we fight while trying to find our identity between college and home.
College forces people to step out of their comfort zone and find who they truly are but home forces you to stay exactly the same. Home does not accept change and rumors that are whispered behind your back when you return for the summer. However, it always comes down to who is doing the walking and who is doing the talking. Wally Wells is the prime example of letting actions speak louder than words when it comes to success.
Last summer, Wally Wells made a courageous move to the Big Apple - New York City. He has spent approximately seven months living in the neighborhood of St. George, Staten Island on a budget while selling fish. On his down time, he works to perform and write to make his name heard. When asked what made him decide to become an artist, he stated that he observed who he was a lot closer which led to his own confidence in his art.
Wells tries to stay as true to himself as he could as well as the roots he has sprouted from rural Alaska. His main goal is to inspire people from his home to do the same. He wants people to have a clear example of how possible it is to reach your dreams as soon as you are brave enough to take the first step and stubbornly believe in yourself when no one else will.
"I have developed my sound and voice as honestly as I could up to this point. Every day I'm exploring new ideas and techniques in my delivery and also learning how to tell stories that correctly identify me." Wells said.
Honestly, it has taken a lot of determination and fights against intimidation for me to write this article because I felt like he couldn't give me enough explanation of himself for me to create a story. Then, I realized I kept making excuses from battles I am fighting on my own and letting it affect not only my life, but others as well. Coming back to Alaska bruises my ego as much as Los Angeles did and it led to me speaking up for myself, especially on the social network and texts and embarrassingly in people's faces. Then, a visit from my father had scared me both into drinking and shouting but also into getting my act together and humbling down.
That's the exact attitude Wells has, not only poured into his music, but into my life by just being there for me to run away to. He does it very graciously and humbly in his music, too. All he wants is to prove to the other poetry writers in the arctic that they are able to do the same. The struggle never really stops from day one to the last breath. The struggle even continues on after death and forces the loved ones to start speaking but, most importantly, to start doing and being.
Wells and I spent the day in Seattle to catch a few shots for a potential music video. It was just a day of fun and talking about where we stand. My favorite part of the whole day, and what I take away with me the most, is when we finally talked about our cousin Gunner Schuerch who we lost this past summer. We listened to Life Goes On by Tupac Shakur and I told him when I hear that song on shuffle, it's when I feel like that's when he is with me and listening.
Alaska is hard at this time of the year, especially when all we can think about is death and losing our loved ones. We tend to get so caught up in wondering what we did wrong, we forget to remember what we can do right. Write? Ride? When life is tough, and when you are in doubt, that's the time you need to throttle it out. Ride it out. Write it out. Right it out.
You can find the music that Wally Wells has been creating and performing at http://wallywells.bandcamp.com/ and you can find his first music video to "On Cue" on YouTube. Search"Wally Wells On Cue."
"Peace, one love from the last Eskimo," said Wells, in a song.