an act of speaking one’s thoughts aloud when by oneself or regardless of any hearers, especially by a character in a play
Will Bryant is an 18-year-old rapper from Atlanta that goes by the moniker Wiley From Atlanta. He only has a few tracks to his name, but the cuts he’s dropped seem to skew older and more mature than his age would suggest. Sure, you can hear the sounds of the present culture cutting through, especially shades of Chance the Rapper at his most soulful, but he strikes with a calmness and wisdom that belies his years. He’s far more interested in telling stories than spitting out tongue twisters or clever puns and his songs would rather pulse and breathe than catch fire. Still, don’t think your boy can’t bring the heat. Currently, Bryant is hard at work on his debut EP, I Love You, which he hopes to release sometime this month. In the meantime, you can read his personal story and then check out his latest single, the lustrous, transfixing “Colors” below.
“My name is Will, alias Wiley From Atlanta. I’ve been writing music since I was thirteen. I released some music in high school that got some positive feedback from my friends, some real lo-fi, like, very understated type shit. Then in my senior year, my friends and I took a road trip to Chicago and I linked up with Taylor Bennett and recorded some stuff in his studio, showed him the song that eventually became “Beautiful Day” on my SoundCloud. Since then, I’ve spent the past year networking and developing my sound, building a fan base from the ground up.
I make music because I love it. I think that hip-hop is a piece of culture; it’s something that gives a voice to the youth. I respect it and I’m obsessed with it. I love how many rappers there are now because I feel like I never run out of shit to listen to. I always felt like I wanted to do something creative, but I wasn’t sure how to start. I used to write short stories a lot when I was younger, and I think getting into music helped me channel that energy into something I could share with friends.
The first rap music I ever listened to was the Black Eyed Peas, back in seventh grade. I saw them in concert for my friend’s birthday and looked up all their shit. Through that I found Lil Wayne and Eminem, and Kanye a little after that. I remember the first time I listened to College Dropout all the way through… I feel like my generation owes a lot to Kanye. Before that I really just listened to what my dad played in the car — Nirvana, R.E.M., the Rolling Stones, Prince, the Grateful Dead, Bob Marley, the Barenaked Ladies, shit like that.
I first decided I really wanted to take music seriously after I listened to Acid Rap. It really changed my life. It was the first hip-hop project I listened to that I really felt, like it had a tangible energy. It still does. I’m really influenced by Chance, Nirvana, Mos Def, Outkast. I feel like I learned how to sing listening to this Jamie Cullum record called ‘Twentysomething.’ If you’ve never heard it, it’s really nice. And of course the younger artists still coming up around me. In 2015, I listened to EarthGang for the first time and realized how diverse the Atlanta hip-hop scene really is; their music really showed me how many sounds we’re producing here.
Right now I’m working on my debut EP called I Love You. It’s a rap record, but it’s really a channel for all of my musical influences, and it’s a narrative. I’ve always wanted to make my debut project have some kind of story arc, and I really like the one I’ve come up with. The project is really diverse; I think you get a little bit of everything. There are some really hard drums on the intro, then the middle is really focused on melodies and shit. The second half of the album is a little quieter, a lot of live instrumentation. I can’t wait to put it out.
I want my music to really be a part of me. When you listen to my songs, that’s a reflection of my personality and of my soul, I guess. I want to contribute to the wave coming out of Atlanta right now. I feel like in 2013, Chicago was really buzzing in the underground hip-hop scene, and now it’s Atlanta’s turn. For real. We’re the only city that could produce Future, Young Thug, OG Maco, Two-9 and Yachty, but also artists like Raury, 6lack, all of Spillage Village, Eri Soul, and Danger Incorporated. Like, we have everything. Atlanta is the sound right now. People want to hear our voice, and so they are.”
Give a listen to “Colors” below.