This week, we take a slight turn on the 615 from the normal mainstream country we cover. While there are elements of country music in Wesley Cook's music, he's one of those artists that is very tough to classify. A listen to his new album, "Heavy," and you will find hints of pop, rock, Latin, and even a few 80s-styled power ballads.
Cook just released "Heavy" this month, and to say there was a sense of relief was putting it mildly. "The best way for me to describe it is... whew," he says with a sigh and a laugh. "It's kind of surreal that it's out now. The release show in Atlanta was such a success -- totally sold out. There was so much work that went into it. I'm still in disbelief. It was such a great experience. It couldn't have been better."
Wesley – who was raised in West Germany as well as South Korea, likens the release of an album to taking a test in high school. "It's like taking your SAT or your ASAP all put together," he notes. "I'm just glad that people are responding to it. You work so hard on it. You just do the best you can, and there's nothing more you can ask for than that."
The focus track from "Heavy" so far has been the moody sounding "It's You," for which Cook has just filmed a video (watch it, above) -- featuring many of Atlanta's loveliest ladies. "Nobody understands what I go through, and the burden I deal with," he says mockingly. "It was a lot of fun. It took a few weeks between shooting it, and post-production, which was a lot of work."
Make no mistake, Cook doesn't mind the work one bit. "I enjoyed all of it – every step of the creative process – the set up, the logistics, and the execution was all great. I'm extremely hands on. I run the company, have my own label, so I have a strong vested interest. You learn something new every time, and I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work. That's how I see it."
With such a wide path of styles represented on "Heavy," Wesley Cook is one artist that doesn't fit neatly in a 4 + 4 box. Again, that's fine with him. "That's been the consensus for my career. In a way, that's tough, because in the beginning people would say 'What do we do with this guy? Where do we put him?' That does mean that you have a taller path because you're literally carving your own. At the same time, that's a good thing. When you're as deep into things as I am now, you're kind of your own thing. For me, it's kind of special that you can't sum me up. Like anything in music, nobody is an island. Everyone stems from what you were raised on or what influenced you. I'm no different. I'm so glad that some of my heroes come up in the reviews, like Paul Simon or Dave Matthews. I'm ecstatic with that, because I respect those guys a lot. It is what it is – whatever the listener hears, and it's always interesting to hear what they come up with. As long as they like it, they can call it whatever they want to."
With the album now out, Cook plans to make sure he leaves no stone unturned while promoting it.
"All you can do is put your music out everywhere there is, which is a lot of work," he stated. "You've got to make sure you're on iTunes and Amazon, and all the social networks. I make sure I'm on everything, because it increases the likelihood of people tripping over me. You have to be out there, playing as much as possible. Nothing replaces making a personal connection with the fans, and that's my favorite part. I'm just going to try to keep this train moving. I don't have a major label. It's just me. The fans have responded well, and that's the point. That's why I get up every morning, and do what I do. I feel really fortunate."