When Wilder Woods announced his debut musical project in early April of this year, two songs — "Someday Soon" and the R&B flavored "Sure Ain't" — had already piqued curiosity of fans. Shortly after the two songs emerged, the race was on to try to guess the identity of the artist. All of the press photos and glimpses of the singer in the videos were mostly hidden, making him difficult to see clearly. There were some very good, very close guesses about Wilder Woods' identity. Ear To The Ground wrote "Wilder Woods makes music for fans of NEEDTOBREATHE." A Wilder Woods thread appeared on NEEDTOBREATHE's Reddit. Clues on Pinterest were dropped.
There was much speculation, including an article by Brooke Ivey Johnson on Pop Dust, which asked the question: Why Is Wilder Woods Hiding His Identity? After some musical sleuthing, Johnson ruled out Billie Eilish's brother Finneas, the lead singer of Kaleo, Jökull Júlíusson and the lead singer of Bear's Den, Andrew Davie. Johnson did make quite a calculated guess though on the identity of Wilder Woods, and while she called it, it was still speculation at the time she wrote the article.
We can now confirm that Wilder Woods is indeed Bear Rinehart, the lead singer of NEEDTOBREATHE. Named for his two young boys – Wilder, age 3, and one-year-old Woods — Wilder Woods' debut album is due out in August on Atlantic Records.
When "Sure Ain't"was initially released, Rinehart wrote on his Wilder Woods Instagram that the song is about, "That innocent and playful type of flirtation. It's about the ongoing chess match when you're trying to let someone know that you're into them, but leave the ball in their court to make the next move. It's about maintaining confidence and swagger while giving the other person the chance to have it their way."
The forthcoming album represents an open letter to his children from Bear, and a different musical direction from his work with NEEDTOBREATHE.
"This music represents a new direction and something totally fresh for me," writes Bear in his bio, "So I wanted to find a producer that I had never worked with before who could match that energy." Rinehart found that producer in Gabe Simon, of the Nashville indie-rock band Kopecky.
In addition to the inspiration of fatherhood, so is Bear's wife, Mary Reames Rinehart. "Marriage and fatherhood have shown me that the hard times are what teach you the most about who you are," he says. "Nobody else can give that to you. You have to experience it for yourself."
Expect more new songs between now and the album release. Watch the video permiere for "Sure Ain't" above, beautifully shot by Gus Black, that captures the emotional and soulful intensity of the song.
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