How Music has Impacted Ian Wellman of Motel Radio's Life

Describe your music in three words.

Honest, melodic, and pleasant.

What song reminds you of home? Where is home?

James Taylor - You Can Close Your Eyes. My parents used to sing it to me as a lullaby in Santa Fe, but it stuck with me even after we moved to Houston when I was 5. It’s still one of my favorite songs.

Who are some of your musical influences?

There are a lot, and they are very different from each other. You’ve got the greats like Bob Dylan, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Johnny Cash, Simon & Garfunkel, then you’ve got the more modern folks like Ryan Adams and Conor Oberst, then you’ve got the new guys on the scene like Rayland Baxter, Houndmouth and The War On Drugs that we all have been bumping recently. And of course, we’ve all got our own personal influences as well.

What is your artistic creative process like?

I’m not sure if there really is a process. It really changes. As far as songwriting goes, usually Winston or I will write the skeleton of a song and bring it to rehearsal and everyone else will fill it out and complete it. Other times, though, songs are born in the rehearsal unit and are also finished there. They spawn from warm up jams sometimes.

Why do you think music is so important to the people and culture of New Orleans?

New Orleans is just such a melting pot of the most interesting people in the world. There is music from everywhere, and it all comes together in the streets downtown and at the clubs around the city. It’s important because it’s unifying. People come from across the globe just to listen to music in New Orleans, and the people here need it because they grew up on it and it has helped them through both natural and personal disasters.

What is the greatest music moment you ever had that made you feel alive?

It’s the same moment that happens every time we get the band playing a new song. If I don’t feel that feeling, I know it’s probably not a song we should keep around. But it’s that feeling that keeps us doing this thing.
Allen Toussaint once stated, “Music is everything to me short of breathing. Music also has a role to lift you up-not to be escapist but to take you out of misery.”...With that being said, how has music gotten you through sorrowful/hard/low moments in your life?

First of all, R.I.P. Mr. Toussaint. He was a legend in the New Orleans community, and his music will live on for many years to come. As far as his statement goes, it rings true for most people. Music has helped me get my mind off of things that I don't want to remember or think about at all. It’s a way to create something that can fill a void left by something else.

Do you have a favorite musical quote of all time?

Hmmmm. I’ve never really thought about it, but for some reason “All You Need Is Love” popped into my head.

Pick Your Poison: CDs, Vinyls, MP3s?

This answer will be different for all of us, but I personally use Spotify and YouTube for my music. I actually wish I had a working record player. I like to listen to albums from front to back. Just haven’t gotten around to getting one yet!

If you had to get up and sing karaoke for us, what would be the song of choice?

She Wolf by Shakira. Naked.