Sometimes I find myself frustratingly thumbing through radio stations. It’s during these times, I often feel nostalgic for an era I wasn’t even alive in. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my fair share of rock and hip hop, but to me – very little beats the sound of Sinatra’s Christmas album filling me and my hubby’s apartment during the holidays. If you’re anything like me, you’ll appreciate the croon of Ronnie Wells.
Ronnie Wells was born and raised in Jersey City. His music is greatly influenced by original R&B, 50’s pop and Frank Sinatra. Surprisingly enough, this musician studied medicine in his early twenties, as well. In addition to being an accomplished musician and performer, Ronnie Wells is also a Physician’s Assistant and Respiratory Therapist.
Some of us, like yours truly, often find ourselves struggling to keep our heads afloat with one career and Ronnie is over there successfully juggling two. And a family. Oh, and he’s also a grandfather who is again starting his career as a performer. Wells, whose song “Shiftin’ Willie,” was performed live by Conan O’Brien in a comedy skit and was used in an episode of “Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” has no intention of slowing down .The Ronnie Wells Show launches on Saturday March 14 at the Al Di La Bistro, in Jersey City.
If you tend to choose a classy night out at a lounge, sipping a Martini over clubbing, listening to indistinguishable electro-pop beats and taking shots the color of Nikki Minaj’s hair- you’ll dig Ronnie Wells.
At what point in your life did you know you wanted to be a musician?
As early as age 15. I started playing drums in the drum core in my high school band.
How did growing up in Jersey City influence your music?
In a small city you have musically inclined talent, you find that a lot in the inner city. A lot of pop and early ‘60s group and recording acts came out of Jersey City and nearby cities. Everything from the Shirelles to the Dupree’s – they were all in a small radius. And that had a great influence not just being a musician but wanting to get in the business, per say. That’s really want inspired me because I was close to a lot of the talented people who were coming up.
Which artists or music genres have most influenced you and why?
In addition to Sinatra, the artists who have influenced me are Bobby Rydell, the Shirelles and the Four Seasons. I was really influenced by groups with good vocal harmony and good melodies to their songs. But really harmony, I was really interested in vocal harmony.
What is your favorite aspect about performing?
The satisfaction of doing a quality job and performing quality material. That’s my favorite thing! Of course, it doesn’t always work out that way. [laughs] That’s what I strive for and what gives me the most satisfaction. Pleasing an audience and giving them the type of material they would appreciate.
So you’re also a Physician’s Assistant and Respiratory Therapist! What drew you to the Medical Field?
I’ve always had an interest in medicine. I had an opportunity at an early age when I was 19, again I was working nights as a musician and during the day striving to have my medical studies. I was making money in music but if I had gone to medical school, I would’ve had to give up music. Music was my main source of income at the time and I wouldn’t be able to support a family. So instead of becoming an M.D., the next best thing was to continue my studies as a Respiratory Therapist and Physicians Assistant.
In your artist’s bio, you said, “the seriousness and sensitivity required in medical practice helped [you] grow up in a lot of ways.” How did this aspect of your medical practice influence your music over the years?
I don’t feel this aspect directly influenced my music but indirectly… indirectly maybe. Maybe in the lyrics it has affected my music – especially when the lyrics pertain to life and love.
Where do you envision your career in the next few years?
I see myself continuing to play shows, entertaining and performing quality material for my audience.
To check out Ronnie Well’s music, visit http://www.ronniewellsmusic.com/