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Wes Watkins knows that personal and professional growth doesn’t manifest overnight. Consistency has helped him win both professionally and personally. Watkins started a band called “Got My Own Sound,” which is a fusion of hip-hop and R&B in 2012 or 2013. Through life’s ups and downs, including suicide attempts and fighting for custody of a child, the drummer, musician and artist broke through the clouds.
He ultimately took his band members with him to a sunshine-filled space. “Moonshine Music,” the band’s fourth album, topped the iTunes chart at number one for two days.
“The first day it debuted at number one on iTunes on the Jazz charts, which was amazing. People are still streaming it. They’re buying it. It’s everywhere,” Watkins said. “It’s just feel-good music. You know, with everything going on in the world today, it’s just like, people need something to just make them feel good and just you know get you through.”
Watkins said the band started recording “Moonshine Music” in October of 2019. The songs on the album address things going on in the world and around the band members. The musician has worked with noted musical artists such as Chrisette Michele and Raheeem DeVaugh, among others. Although he has toured the world with famous music makers, Watkins doesn’t get comfortable because of it. He pushes himself to achieve more and what makes him most proud is that his band is still going strong after all of these years.
Having people around him who still believe in the vision is noteworthy to Watkins.
Despite finding success in a tough business, Watkins knows what it’s like for life to storm. The author, entrepreneur and father battled depression and suicide attempts. “The depression hit me heavy. It took me a while to climb out of that hole and face the issue that I needed to deal with,” Watkins said. “When you’ve gone to your lowest, and you don’t mind taking your own life, it’s like you’ve hit an all-time low.”
Watkins openly discussed how he tried to take his life more than once. Finding his purpose was a portion of his destiny and legacy. Now, the perceptive of the Anne Arundel County resident can be found imparting real-life wisdom on his Instagram page, in between showing off his drum skills. Watkins even penned two books—“The Life that Created My Own Sound” and “MOTIVATION+DRIVE=PURPOSE.”
Part motivational, part memoir and self-help, Watkins uses the practical insight he gained in life to help other people achieve more personal greatness.
“When it comes to a dream, don’t give up and stay consistent. Build yourself up and do not worry about the opinions of others,” Watkins shared, while reflecting on his evolution to believing in himself. Watkins stresses the importance of self-belief inside and outside of the music studio. He knows that everyone may not support what musicians’ do or believe in them, just like other industries. However, he says that having enough belief in oneself connects with knowing that efforts are going to work.
“Make sure you add value to yourself and know your value,” Watkins said.
Band member, Elliot Jefferson, who plays the keyboard and the organ says his first job was playing the piano in Nordstroms at the age of 16 and just like Watkins, music is his passion. Both men graduated from Meade High School and are full time musicians. Jefferson’s love for music keeps him pushing through challenges, like the pandemic, and even not knowing exactly where the next music job will come from.
On the upside, Jefferson says it was awesome to see the band’s hard work reach number one on the day that it was released online.
Not being able to tour during the pandemic, or meet new people, has been something Jefferson misses. The listening party for “Moonshine Music was successful, although it had to be held virtually.
“God has never left me out and alone,” Jefferson said confidently, while reflecting on his musical journey. “The more and more you push— the more and more that you’ll see that you will get to where you need to be.”
“Moonshine Music” is available for purchase via https://music.apple.com/us/artist/got-my-own-sound/1115042509 or through mostly any streaming site.
Visit the band on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/wesgotmyownsound/.