Auspicious Beginnings

By
Peter Gordon

Quincy Jones (left) and Will Wells during a session at Capitol Records Studios.

Quincy Jones (left) and Will Wells during a session at Capitol Records Studios.

After graduating from Berklee in May 2011, Will Wells faced a quandary common to many of his peers: where to begin his career. He chose Los Angeles, where so many musical heroes like Quincy Jones ’51 have made their way. In October 2011, he made the move and the range of experiences and successes that he has seen in his first two years is truly impressive.

At that time, Broadway music director Alex Lacamoire ’95 was setting up the L.A. run of Bring It On: The Musical at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. Through trusted recommendations, Lacamoire hired Wells to assist with transcriptions, orchestrations, mixing and preparing tracks in Pro Tools and Logic. This is how his L.A. story began and the initial collaboration with Lacamoire has subsequently yielded several other Broadway-related opportunities.

Wells soon began assisting film composer and record producer Richard Gibbs ’77 in the Woodshed, Gibbs’s Malibu studio. In early 2012, Gibbs recommended Wells to a couple of Malibu friends for an opportunity to run front-of-house sound for Big Bad University, an offshoot of LMFAO. That move, in turn, led Sky Blu of LMFAO to hire Wells to join the group’s tour of North America. By then, Wells was writing and producing, as well as being a road manager.

By mid-2012, Wells returned to Los Angeles and almost immediately received an offer to score his first feature-length film, Game, by a Dutch company. It will premiere later this year. After that project, Wells was recommended to up-and-coming Canadian vocalist Nikki Yanofsky, who was searching for a music director. Wells put together an all–Berklee alumni ensemble to audition for the gig and was hired.

Will Wells ’11

Will Wells ’11

Wells then took that band into Capitol Records studios to record a national promo for Yanofsky’s album and had the pleasure of working with her executive producer, Quincy Jones. Wells has just completed his second tour as Yanofsky’s MD, playing major festival bills alongside such icons as Herbie Hancock, Steve Gadd, and David Sanborn.

A graduate isn’t always ready to hit the ground running. But for those who knew Wells on campus, his activities since graduation are hardly a surprise.

By his senior year, he was in high demand for high-profile projects on campus and his undergrad experiences performing, composing, arranging, contracting, and producing prepared him well. He took advantage of the Berklee Alumni Office on campus and the Berklee Center in Los Angeles and several of his early major breaks came through those channels. Wells’s early success came through the alumni network and he’s already in position to pay it forward by creating work for other alumni. His star is on the rise. Stay tuned!