It seems there’s a great deal of gold to be found in that red Georgia clay. With a star-studded catalog of natives that includes Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Zac Brown Band and Brantley Gilbert, the Peach State has been churning out a continuous supply of hits lately. Even relatively new artists like Kip Moore and Thomas Rhett are becoming recurring fixtures on the charts. One of the hottest new artists out of Georgia, Ben Wells recently debuted his first album at No. 26 on the iTunes country charts. Wells, who garnered a strong following by recording YouTube covers, has since shared a stage with heavy-hitters like Dierks Bentley, Justin Moore, Brantley Gilbert and Luke Bryan. Following the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, Wells teamed up with Waves for Water to provide disaster relief for those affected by the storms in New Jersey. CMP had the opportunity to talk with Ben about his contributions to Waves for Water, his reaction to the album’s success, and what’s in store for the future.
CMP: How did it feel to have your first album in the iTunes top 30?
BW: It was really, really surreal. We were on our way to our third radio stop for an in-studio performance and interview that day when one of my managers told me we had broke into the Top 30. I honestly didn’t know how to act. It was a since of relief and anxiety at the same time. We worked really hard on this record and it’s awesome to see a response like that from the fans.
CMP: Has the atmosphere at your live shows changed at all since the album was released?
BW: Most definitely. We’re starting to see our crowds grow with us. We’re finally able to back our energy and performance at a show with an album we’re proud of. The atmosphere is definitely evolving. As I grow as an artist it seems as if the fans continue to grow as well.
CMP: What artists would you say you’re influenced by?
BW: A lot of people compare me to Brantley [Gilbert], and I really like Eric Church and Keith Urban. Those three are probably the biggest influences.
CMP: Did you do any of the writing on the album yourself?
BW: All of the songs on the album I either wrote or co-wrote, and three of the songs on the album I completely wrote myself. I’m really big on writing and having my hand in the writing process. The artists that I do look up to – Keith Urban and Eric Church –have their hand in the writing process a lot.
CMP: Tell us a little about Waves For Water and how you became involved.
BW: Waves for Water is a non-profit organization that helps bring clean water to countries and communities around the globe. This time they specifically added the help to the Hurricane Sandy Victims. We’re honored to be a part of them and help bring awareness to people across the country of the devastation. Many folks are still getting power back, and if we can bring some of our fans over to them and let them be aware of what happened, then I like to think we’ve made a movement.
CMP: Can we expect any new music from you soon?
BW: We’re still pushing the album we just released, and will push for a little while, but new music is definitely coming. This latest album had some new songs and some previously released cuts. We are definitely ready to hit our fans with some all new music. Of course, there’s not a set date or time, or even set track list, but I write music on a daily basis and we want to keep the fire burning while it’s hot. So possibly near future another release of some sort.
For more about Ben Wells, visit his Facebook page.