FANDEMIC: The Lumineers' Wesley Schultz On 'Serving The Song,' Staying Creative In Isolation

'Put your needs aside and figure out what the song needs'

Currently holed up in Denver with his mother, son Lenny, and wife Brandy, Wesley Schultz of The Lumineers joined RADIO.COM for an exclusive FANDEMIC Instagram Live on Wednesday, May 27, answering questions from around the world and letting us in on his time social distancing.

The GRAMMY-nominated, certified-platinum songwriter admitted to host Kevan Kenney that although he feels just as disoriented as the rest of us, he’s happy to be in a comfortable space around family during these trying times.

“I feel funny saying I’m doing well. You kind of have to have a caveat," says Schultz. “But under the circumstances, I’m in a room right now where I try to play music… I set up a studio just trying to stay busy.”

As far as how the creative process is going for him under quarantine, Wesley remembers a story legendary rapper Tupac Shakur told about being in jail and his description of how isolation destroys the spirit.

“For me, I like finding inspiration by being out in the world and meeting people and learning their stories,” he says. “So it’s challenging. You’d think logically as musicians we’d be writing more than ever – but you need life to be happening.”

Wesley likens his process to that of an antenna, taking in signals from around him. Sometimes just being present waiting for something to happen, and then composing something emotionally relatable in the end.

Host Kevan brought up the book War Of Art as a source of possible inspiration, as it hits on the same themes of keeping yourself wide open to outside elements when dealing with creativity. Wesley says it’s on his nightstand and agrees with the thought of there being some sort of “higher power” that he taps into, removing his ego and letting the songs write themselves.

“I think that really helps [Jeremiah] and I write together because when we write we just split everything 50/50,” he says. “It doesn’t really matter who specifically wrote what. I think that builds a lot of trust to just sort of serve the song.”

“That’s what we constantly say in the studio. Just put your needs aside and figure out what the song needs.”

Wesley was kind enough to answer some fan questions from across the country, touching on everything from his favorite music and food, to specific inspiration behind his songs. Watch the full FANDEMIC interview above.

Before this, the last time we caught up with the band was just before the 2020 GRAMMYs, when the guys spoke about what it was like to be nominated and lose two awards and a jacket on the big night. Prior to that, we chatted with the guys in December of 2019 about their favorite artists as well as some of the songs that changed their lives.

2020 is a whole new year, with a whole new set of circumstances and hurdles to overcome - and we're certain The Lumineers will be there for us when normal life returns.

While you're in a Lumineers kinda mood, check out our 2018 'Storytellers' performance with the band live in the RADIO.COM Theater in NYC.

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