By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Born and raised in Los Angeles, singer-songwriter/producer Tony Nguyen moved to Brooklyn, N.Y. to pursue his musical career.
Despite the fact that he has now accumulated over 40,000 Spotify streams under the moniker Wind Meets West, he still found himself conflicted at times.
The struggle encouraged him to take part in a recent collaboration with SET + VOI, Saenabi and Vyzta entitled “Tmrw,” a song dedicated to young immigrants in the midst of an identity crisis, caught between two worlds – the one they know back home and the one they want to fit into.
His upcoming EP ‘WHENIMOUTOFHERE’ is slated for a January 2021 release.
The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with him about his new music and more.
Music Bugle – What inspired you to use the name “Wind Meets West”?
Wind Meets West – My last name is “Nguyen,” which is pronounced like “win,” which sounds like “Wind.” I’m from L.A. originally, hence “Meets West.” My namesake Nguyen plus my hometown L.A. equals “Wind Meets West.” No matter where I go, I like to carry my roots with me.
Music Bugle – Where do you feel more “at home” – Brooklyn or Los Angeles?
Wind Meets West – That’s a really tough question because I feel at home in both places! That’s actually a big dilemma in a lot of my songs – do I stay in New York or go home to L.A.? Both have their pros and cons. I can’t say I don’t miss the L.A. sun, lying on the beach at midnight or driving with the windows down on the coast, but also, I would miss the energy and vibrancy that Brooklyn has. I love being able to walk between neighborhoods here and see drastic changes in character and culture.
Music Bugle – What kind of advantages do you feel being a singer, songwriter and producer gives you, musically speaking?
Wind Meets West – I’m known to people in my circle as the “one-man band” – the person who can basically play anything. To me, I love the fact that I can collaborate with so many different people of various skillsets and compliment them in the ways they need to. For my own music, I love that I never have to struggle with bringing an idea to life. All my ideas are easily made tangible with a piano, guitar and my voice.
Music Bugle – What do you attribute your digital streaming success to?
Wind Meets West – The support of my fans, friends, family and musical mentors. I could not do any of this without the people who get me through the everyday slog of being an independent singer-songwriter. At the end of the day, streaming is a means to an end – to connect with as many people as possible through my music.
Music Bugle – Which of your songs was the hardest to write or compose?
Wind Meets West – It hasn’t been released yet, but it’s a song about my mental health called “If I Took A Pill.” I wrote it after a depressive episode I had a few weeks ago. It’s hard because it’s so raw and vulnerable and when writing about subjects so close to me, I want everything to be right. That’ll be out sometime next year, but you can see snippets of it on my social media.
Music Bugle – Have you been working on any other new music?
Wind Meets West – Other than “If I Took A Pill,” I have another single coming out in November called “Technicolor.” It’s a song about the same person “IF I GO” is written for, my current partner. I was experiencing major writer’s block because prior to this song, all my songs came from a place of darkness and sadness, but when I ran out of inspiration in that emotional space, I looked towards the things that were inspiring me – the people I love in my life who also love me back in a way I’ve never experienced before. Especially in a time where I’m so far from many of my loved ones, I think taking the time to look back and reminisce about perfect memories helps me get through these troubling times.
Music Bugle – What has been your biggest struggle lately?
Wind Meets West – Balancing my own artistic and creative needs with the needs of others – both professionally and personally. I’ve been producing more and more artists, which is an amazing opportunity, but sometimes that makes it hard to carve out space for your own songs.
Music Bugle – What do you miss the most about performing in front of a live audience?
Wind Meets West – My favorite scientific fact about live performance is that it literally makes all our brains sync up and feel the same emotion. I miss this human connection. I miss breathing the same musty air in the basement of a New York club, people literally an arm’s length away from me. I miss dancing with my audience, singing with them and connecting with them on an emotional level. I miss people who come up to me after shows to tell them how they resonated with my songs and my story, so we all feel a little less alone in this world.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Wind Meets West – “Be kind to yourself” is my motto. We are all on our own timeline. As someone who changed careers into being a full-time musician, there are a lot of mistakes that go along with the triumphs. The only way you’re gonna keep on keeping on is to be kind to yourself, forgive yourself for the failures and keep moving forward.
Music Bugle – What has surprised you the most this year?
Wind Meets West – How, even through the internet, with all its filters and B.S., I have found genuine connection with people through music. It’s definitely not the same as in person, but I’ve found some lifelong friends and collaborators across the country. My latest single “Tmrw” came out on Oct. 2 with my new band SET + VOI, whose members Ashley and Mason are in Arizona and Los Angeles respectively. If COVID hadn’t happened, we wouldn’t have ever met and not made new music together. To me, theses are the bright spots we need to get through 2020.