Tauren Wells | Sheer Honesty, On Loop

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DIOR MEN jacket, top, and pants and ALESSANDRO VASINI shoes.

When considering what part of life makes one feel the most alive, gas stations are not the most typical conjuring. Maybe it’s the mildly unflattering oil grease concealing the concrete, or the relentless smell of an old engine about to give out, or the aisles of cheap drinks and cheaper food, that never seem to spark much inspiration. Yet, 10-time GRAMMY-nominated recording artist, Tauren Wells, found his calling for music staring into the shocking majesty of an overpriced gas station from the backseat of his dad’s truck.

At just seven or eight years old, Wells—whose most recent collaboration with H.E.R., “Hold Us Together (Hope Mix),” was one of those many GRAMMY nominations, alongside his live album, Citizen of Heaven (Live)—recalls an inconceivable, overwhelming sensation of adoration as he realized music was going to be his “purpose” in life. Audibly belting out, “I love music” in that moment from his dad’s truck, Wells can still sense the way the song lyrics and melody arrested his mind and body.

Luckily for Texas-native Wells, his dad was a passionate musician and a large influence on the accomplished performer. At such a young age, Wells remembers feeling tortured by his dad’s ritual of picking only one song and playing it on consistent repeat for three months at a time. No matter how many times they listened to that one song, every few weeks his dad would pick a new part of the song for them to focus on, while they let the music consume them. “Okay, this time, we’re only going to listen to the bass,” Wells’ dad would say, and they’d immerse themselves.

AMI PARIS jacket and shirt and HERMÈS shorts and shoes.

Whether it was the patient attention to song lyrics, or his learned admiration for the craft of instruments and vocal cords working as one, Wells found himself falling absolutely in love. Wells’ new album, Joy in the Morning—which follows a 40-date tour and will see release this June—showcases all the skills honed during those repetitive listening sessions. Inspired by the infinite potential music has in influencing others, Wells could never—and would never—fit his voice into one genre affiliation. Yet, in one word, Wells describes Joy in the Morning as “honest.” Coupling raw vulnerability with palpable passion, Wells’ lyrics evoke brave emotions and stark confessions for both himself and listeners to come to terms with. This is compounded on his newly released song, “Empty,” where Wells sings of sometimes feeling unfulfilled, despite a seemingly picture-perfect life.

With a hope to inspire people, Wells, who has enjoyed touring with icons Lionel Richie and Mariah Carey, challenges listeners to “be who they are”—bravely, honestly, and purposefully. As a father of four little boys, Wells brings honesty everywhere he goes so that when his children look back. “They’ll be able to see not a perfect picture of fatherhood,” he considers, “but an honest one.” Yet, song lyrics aren’t the only way Wells is making his mark. Discovering that actions and words speak loudest when used together, Wells released the song, “All God’s Children,” in 2020. Wells wrote this song to help former professional athlete and Heisman Trophy winner, Tim Tebow, and his foundation’s mission to combat human trafficking. 100% of the proceeds from this song were donated to support Tebow’s cause, furthering Wells’ defining legacy of the importance of contribution.

Wells has found that his music “moves” people—undeniably touching the hearts and souls of millions. “The fact that I have the power to move people in different directions in their thinking and in their lives inspires me,” he shares. “It wakes me up in the morning. It gives me passion.” Wells’ optimism for a better tomorrow demonstrates that music is a common language—an overwhelming sensation of love and infinity in the palm of your hands. And sometimes, music is the only one that’s listening back to the replaying thoughts in your mind. Wells asks, “How could you not get fired up about that?”


Photographed by Angella Chloe
Styled by Jay Hines
Groomer: Juanita Lyon at Celestine Agency 
Written by Vanessa Blasi