Wax, Billy Galewood, Jefferson Jay | Acoustic Evenings
Fri Apr 21 2023 at 07:30 pm to 09:00 pmUTC-07:00
Athenaeum Music & Arts Library | San Diego, CA
About this Event
The Acoustic Evenings series at the Athenaeum showcases some of the finest acoustic musicians in San Diego. Three acts fill each program and attentive audiences delight in the intimacy of the unplugged storytelling format. Refreshments are available at the intermission reception and post-concert meet-and-greet. San Diego Music Hall of Fame founder Jefferson Jay curates and hosts the concert series. The project advances the Athenaeum’s commitment to support diverse San Diego talent. Acoustic Evenings is an unforgettable and personal experience for San Diego music lovers.
Wax is mostly known as a rapper. He is also a producer, songwriter, singer (kinda), comedian, and all around creative dude. He has been making music for many many years now and has a gold record and millions of views on YouTube to show for it. Wax's songs have a wide range of styles and cater to many different types of audiences. Some are advanced technical displays of rap wordplay, some are heartfelt tales of struggle, some are inspirational numbers containing optimistic advice and/or guidance.
Read an Athenaeum exclusive interview with Wax below!
Billy Galewood is an American singer, songwriter and rapper from Cleveland, Ohio.
At the age of nine, Billy entered a youth theater group called "Kids on Broadway". Ten years later Billy migrated to New York City, where he studied musical theater at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. There he met Jason Mraz at a party and they subsequently became roommates. After years of honing their own musicianship, the two then moved from New York to Mraz's native Virginia, then California where they performed together as often as they could. Among their collaborations is "Curbside Prophet", a track from Mraz's album Waiting for My Rocket to Come.
Billy eventually ended up in California where he continued to hone his eclectic acoustic/hip-hop sound. Known for his freestyle skills on the microphone, Billy has toured extensively throughout the U.S., independently releasing his album Ghetto Blaster, which features the likes of Spooner Oldham, Speechwriters LLC, and Jason Mraz’s rhythm section. Billy's shows blend hip-hop, acoustic rock, funk, improvisation and comedy. His performances also incorporate circus tricks such as hula hooping, fire breathing, face balancing, juggling and balloon art.
Long-time curator and host of Acoustic Evenings, Jay is at home with the Athenaeum audience. A prolific artist, his current projects include the fully inclusive animated series, “The Hunt for the Holiday Spirit,” and a five-record set, “Spring.”
The concerts will be in person at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library. There are no physical tickets for these events. Your name will be on an attendee list at the front door. Doors open at 7 p.m. Seating is first-come; first-served. These events will be presented in compliance with State of California and County of San Diego health regulations as applicable at the time of each concert.
Masks optional. If you have a fever, cough, or flu-like symptoms, please stay home.
AN INTERVIEW WITH MIKE JONES A.K.A. WAX
Athenaeum: Hello, Michael Jones. I understand you prefer to go by Wax. What is the significance of that name?
Wax: I honestly don’t know why I chose the name Wax. It does not stem from a good story, or from a childhood friend or family member bestowing it upon me. I just thought it sounded cool when I was 13. Since then I have occasionally made up meanings when asked though, always ending with the quip, “and plus, it’s always in your ears!”
A: How would you explain rap music to someone who just landed on our planet?
W: I think explaining music in general would be difficult. It is audio that is organized by time and pitch. I would have to explain that rhythm is time divided into equal segments, and that for some reason human beings have an affinity for that ... we just really like when time is divided into equal segments. Maybe that is because of our connection to the seasons, or the beating of our hearts? Not sure why, we just like it ... sometimes so much that we move around uncontrollably due to it. Then I would have to spend an enormous amount of time explaining pitch and melody, if that is even possible. If I was lucky enough to teach that successfully, by the time I got to the explanation of “rapping,” I think the groundwork would have already been laid for this alien to grasp that concept pretty easily.
A: What was it about growing up in Dunkirk, Maryland, that caused you to travel west?
W: I actually didn’t move west on my own accord. In 2006, my girlfriend at the time got a job in San Diego, and I figured “why not go with her?” She ended up moving back to Maryland without me shortly after that. I decided to relocate to Los Angeles at that point to pursue my dreams as well as improve my life in general. I was depressed and drinking a lot in San Diego at that time, and I had to get out of here. In Los Angeles I ended up finding a ton of like-minded people from all over the world. Believe it or not, my dreams kinda did come true. I have been making music for a living since 2009 ... so 13 years now. I signed various record deals, toured the world, had a number-one hit song in several countries ... it has been a wild ride.
Dunkirk, Maryland, did not have much to do with my move, but I am glad I left there. Living in San Diego and Los Angeles allowed me to experience exponentially more of what life has to offer than if I would have stayed in the small town in which I grew up. No offense to people who spend their entire lives in the same small town, but I think it is good to expand your horizons a bit.
A: Jefferson Jay mentioned you had recently returned to Ocean Beach from years of living in Los Angeles. What prompted your move?
W: First off, I love Jefferson Jay and I want you to include that in the interview! I have an identical twin brother who lives in San Diego, and I am extremely close with his entire family. (He has a wife and two kids.) I moved back to SD from LA to spend more time with them. The pandemic is what prompted me to really make the move. I just kinda realized I can be in San Diego now. I still make the trip to LA all the time to work. I just see it as a long commute, and when I go I stay a few days at least.
A: Your song “The Full Picture” (2021) is so moving, and I noticed the effect it has on your followers on YouTube. How do you feel when you read something like Jared Moors’ comment, “This is one of those songs that I have to listen to once in a while just to survive”?
W: Thank you for saying that; I am glad it had that effect on you. Honestly, I do not usually read the YouTube comments, because when I come across negative criticism it can stick in my head and mess with my creative process. People say, “Just don’t let it get to you,” but you don’t really get to choose what thoughts get stuck in your brain. Unfortunately, I can read one hundred positive comments and one negative comment, and only the one negative comment will stay with me. It sucks, but that is how I am wired I guess. All that said, I am very touched by Jared’s comment and it is a blessing that I have been able to have a positive effect on people through my music. Many people have reached out to me over the years to tell me that I have helped them in that way. Music is powerful and I am extremely grateful and humbled to be able to reach people with my songs in that way.
A: I also felt from the comments that you had been through some struggle, perhaps from the loss of your producer EOM. What did lead to this reflective piece?
W: EOM was like a brother to me and it was really difficult when he passed. In fact, it took me a few years to even realize how much his death affected me. I look at life differently now. I make an effort to enjoy every day, and I also try to have way more fun with my music. This is not supposed to be stressful and sad! It is supposed to be therapeutic and fun!
A: You are a mean hand at metaphors. Did you grow up writing poetry?
W: Thank you! I took a poetry writing class in college once, but besides that my writing was all in music form. I started writing raps when I was 10 or so. For whatever reason, I tend to think in similes which is good for songs, poetry, comedy, etc. Honestly, poetry is rhythmic, so I guess it isn’t even a different thing.
A: In your YouTube video for “Rare Specimen” (2019) you seem to come up with your lyrics on the spot. Is this something that factors into being one of the top 100 YouTube musicians?
W: It may seem like that, but I had those lyrics already prepared in my head. I do sometimes come up with improvised lyrics on the spot but not in that case.
A: Do you write down your impromptu raps?
W: If they are good, I do. Many of my songs are little pieces of improvised raps put together. Honestly, writing is just slow improvisation.
A: In your video for “Rosana” (2018) the introductory instrumentation has a Jay-Z quality, and in another song you mention Brian Wilson and Pet Sounds. Who are your inspirations?
W: I have a lot of different musical influences. I grew up watching a lot of MTV so any pop music from the late 80s to late 90s influenced me. I love rap music, funk, reggae, rock, folk, country, jazz, boss nova, R & B, blues, soul, disco, and really anything funky. I love how nowadays all music is free, so you can explore everything. I am still learning about stuff from the 1940s and whatnot.
A: You have a busy touring schedule and play lots of festivals. What is it you enjoy about playing here at the Athenaeum?
W: When I tour, I am generally playing at loud rock and roll clubs full of drunk people who really just want to dance and feel the vibrations of the music. While I love performing in this type of environment, my favorite type of show to play is actually an acoustic show where everyone is seated and attentive. When I played at the Athenaeum last year, it was so much fun. People really pay attention to every word of the songs, so I have the ability to do more storytelling songs and songs that wouldn’t work as well in a club environment. I am very excited to perform at the Athenaeum again!
A: How would you react to someone saying you wax poetic?
W: (Snooty voice as if waxing poetic...) [Wax’s own words!] I would probably wax poetic about somebody saying I wax poetic.
Where is it happening?Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, 1008 Wall Street, San Diego, United States
Event Location & Nearby Stays:
USD 5.00 to USD 10000.00