Wayfie Finds Motivation In Collaboration

The rising producer is getting by with a little help from his friends.

by Daniel Hartmann

Photo by Kurt Cuffy

Fresh off a 2021 Juno nomination, Wayfie is the kind of artist who wants to be involved with everything. The Vancouver-based indie-pop songwriter/producer earned his first Juno nod for his work with So Sus for his Voices EP, going head-to-head with the likes of Kaytranada and Felix Cartal for Dance Recording Of The Year. While the nomination was surreal and exciting for him, it was indicative of what could come from working together with other talented artists, and a sign to keep pushing.

Born Nathan Chiu, Wayfie has been a mainstay in BC’s music community, producing hits for the introspective pop-soul singer Mathew V, and JESSIA, the fast-ascending pop singer who wrote the body positive TikTok hit “I’m Not Pretty.” Chiu also has an ongoing creative partnership with producer Hahlweg, often featuring on tracks as a singer-songwriter.

While studying at Nimbus School Of Recording and Media, Chiu met a representative from SOCAN (The Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada) who pushed him to get involved in the Vancouver music community. He began participating in collaborative writing sessions and working with fellow musicians. “Once I was introduced to co-writing, I was like, ‘oh my gosh, I love this,” Chiu says. “I love working with other people. My strengths for writing immediately served in that process.” Working with others gave him the confidence to write and release his own music. 

Now 24, Chiu has been releasing music on SoundCloud since 2018, gradually finding his sound — rhythmic indie-pop with honest and emotionally resonant lyricism. Two recent singles, “Fairytale” and “Call You Mine,” explore feelings of heartbreak and longing. “Fairytale” is a quintessential breakup song — Wayfie lays out his insecurities about a failed relationship while airy synths swell and a guitar slowly slides up and down the frets. “Call You Mine” is a high-tempo banger with great vocal harmonies and an ear-catching guitar riff that lays down the basis for Wayfie to try and convince a former partner to give it another shot. 

A creative force with a passion for songwriting, Chiu took a break from his busy schedule to talk with RANGE about his most inspirational album and his goals for the end of the year. 

What record has inspired you the most?

Coldplay’s Parachutes was really inspirational for me because my older brother burned it onto a CD when I was really young. We had a CD player in the room that my younger brother and I shared and we would play that album when we were going to sleep. It was a moody album that hit me in the feels growing up. 

What would be some dream musical collaborations?

In terms of producers, John Congleton. He’s produced for Explosions In The Sky, St. Vincent, and Sigur Ros. In terms of artists, Lenon Stella. I’d also love to work with Finneas. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from someone?

My older brother was driving me somewhere when I was really young, and he told me, ‘don’t listen to anyone else. Do what works for you.’ It came across as really intense, and I didn’t take that advice for granted. But it didn’t really click in until later on in life.

Out of all the tracks that you’ve released, which one are you the proudest of lyrically?

I’m really proud of “Fairytale.” It isn’t convoluted, and it was also the first time I tried to be a bit more emotionally transparent. Talking about how I rewatch the same shows over and over again, for the sake of comfort, which I think is really relatable; also experiencing the loss of your first love and the feeling of losing that person. I think I articulated that feeling well in a catchy way.

What are your goals for the end of the year?

My goal is to prepare for next year. (laughs) I’m going to be doing a lot of writing and producing for other people. I want to be ready and not burn myself out. Fighting burnout has been the biggest challenge going into the lifestyle of being a professional creative. It is hard to teach yourself to clock out and rest. Prepare for next year so that when things get warmer, we can bring people some amazing music.

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