“Wonderland” is a new single by singer-songwriter Joey Salinas from his “Identity: Chapter 1” album. The soft, ethereal, Latin-vibe melody pairs nicely with the lyrics about the blissful feeling of being in love. Joey recently discussed the song, its accompanying music video, and more via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): When did you first realize that you wanted to be a musical artist and how would you describe your style and sound?
Joey Salinas (JS): I knew I wanted to be a musical artist before I ever knew what that meant, from the moment I could talk and sing. It’s always been a part of me and there was no question that this was going to be my calling in life. I remember singing along to music I’d here on the radio and picking apart the songs and sing different sections, like the harmonies or adlibs. I knew most people didn’t dissect music like that from a very early age. That’s how I knew. My style and sound is very eclectic to match the various musical influences that move me. I would describe my sound as Pop Fusion; a blend of R&B, Rock, Jazz, Dance, and Latin Fusion to create my own signature Mainstream Pop.
MM: What were your experiences breaking into the industry like?
JS: I sort of had a zig-zaggy entrance into the music industry. When I was a teenager, I started working with a vocal coach that was working with major label artists at the time. She took an interest in me and helped me develop my voice and got me to focus heavily on songwriting. I will forever be grateful for the time she spent with me. She helped me form the building blocks to how I structured myself to take on this career.
Around the same time, I also got involved in dance and acting. My first ever performance in front of an audience, outside of choir, was as an actor doing Shakespeare and the character that I played had a singing part. So, I was asked to come up with a melody for the song since the director wasn’t sure how the song was supposed to sound. And she knew that I could sing from hearing me sing with the school choir and at talent shows. That was a great introduction for me as a stage performer.
A short time after, dance was introduced into my life. Through dance, I was able to make my way into the entertainment industry. And it was through dance that performing opportunities opened up for me as a singer, oddly enough. While involved in dance, I was simultaneously recording demos. Then it was brought to my attention that I didn’t have to wait for a recording contract to be offered to me; that I should just do it on my own…and so I did.
I’ve had control of my music career this whole time. And, though slow and steady, I’ve been able to do it my way. And I look forward to more amazing opportunities to come.
MM: What gave you the idea for “Wonderland”?
JS: I originally produced the track for another artist that was also indie like myself. She wanted something fresh and new that was different from what she was already doing. Fortunately for me, she decided not to use the track as it was “too Latin” for the direction she was trying to take.
As it turns out, I’m ALL Latin so I had no problem keeping the track for myself. I had already finished another song, My Time, and had been performing it all around. I used an Alice in Wonderland theme for the performances. So, I thought it would be fun to use that as a title for the song since it had an ethereal feel to it. And the lyrics were inspired by a breakup song I did on my 1st album, “In The Beginning…” I wanted to explore what the beginning of a relationship feels like when you find that special someone. I also drew inspiration from past relationships of mine and how my experience was in the beginning of those relationships. But it’s not actually about a specific person. It’s about the feeling. And everyone can interpret the song how it best fits them. That was my goal.
MM: What is your favorite lyric in “Wonderland” and why?
JS: If I had to pick, my favorite lyric in “Wonderland” would be:
“Yes, it was us my mind had painted. What a masterpiece we made…”
I love this lyric so much because it embodies the spirit of the entire song. If you can imagine who your perfect someone is and how you would be as a couple, and then actually finding that person. Wouldn’t that be a masterpiece? It’s almost like the embodiment of the idea of #RelationshipGoals.
There’s actually a show I currently watch that has a gay couple on it. And they aren’t depicted as the stereotype. They are depicted as regular, everyday men with real jobs that could be considered masculine, and they just happen to be gay men and together as a couple. It’s beautiful. And when I hear my song and see this fictional couple being depicted on screen, these days I think “yep, THEM!”
MM: What inspired the theme of the music video and how long did it take to film?
JS: I wanted to showcase how the beginning of a new love feels; How it brings you to life. How it breathes air into your lungs and fills your soul. To illustrate that, I wanted the backdrops to be the focal point, showing how lush and vibrant nature is, much like love. Since it’s the backdrop that truly carries the story, I chose not to have a love interest in the video because it’s about the feeling of love. So, in essence, the backdrop then becomes the main character. And I am there to help narrate the story.
Another way I wanted to keep the focus on the backdrops was to have me perform directly to the audience. I’m known for having a whole circus around me when it comes to my previous videos and performances. So, for this song being the only mid-tempo in Chapter 1, I wanted to have an intimate moment with the audience since that’s also what the song conveys. If you watch all of my videos in this series, you’ll start to see an overlapping component that ties them together. Which is another element that helped build this music video.
I wore many hats for this project, as most independent artists tend to be a one- person show. So, it took a few days to get all the costuming and props together. The locations were easy to find as I had stumbled upon all of them at some point or another so I knew when I found them that that’s I wanted to shoot this video. And then the film day itself was just one day running around with my filmographer, Jason Anderson, getting all the shots we needed. It was pretty seamless.
MM: What has been the best thing about working in the music industry so far?
JS: The best thing about working in the music industry for me has been the ability to create something that people can relate with. That I get to be a part of people’s lives by narrating their special moments through my art. That’s been the best part for me. I get to create something that might mean something to someone else other than myself. And that is a great thing.
MM: What projects are coming up for you soon and is there anything else that you would like to discuss?
JS: As I mentioned before, all of my videos in this series have an overlapping component that ties them together and carries a story separate from the individual stories portrayed in the videos. So, there’s more stories on the way. More videos and then pretty soon more music as well.
After all, we are only on Chapter 1. There are more chapters to cover and I hope that people will follow me on this journey.
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