Wyn Starks’s voice is like hitting rewind. Offering up a motown-tinged kind of retro soul/pop, Starks has already received a lot of success in the States, with his song “Circles” having over a million streams on Spotify — a song that could easily be mistaken for a hit from the ‘60s. The sound that he brings to the airwaves is one that celebrates not only the multi-octave range of his elastic vocals, but also the power of his songwriting.
Starks counts Prince, Stevie Wonder, and Leon Bridges amongst his influences, and it’s not hard to see why. Classic R&B meets contemporary pop on tracks that shine with authenticity and emotion. A vocal range that can only be described as awesome weaves a story of romance and class through each song, his falsetto being truly something to behold.
“Circles” was Starks’s debut single, and it’s one that serves to illustrate the power that this man has in both songwriting — telling a story of the joys and wonder of being in love — and singing. Reaching towards us seemingly through the ages, Starks’s voice arrives, effortlessly cool and smooth, like the reincarnation of R&B stars of yesteryear. The official performance video for “Circles” is, fittingly, set on a train station, as if to illustrate the ability of Starks’s voice to travel space and time.
Raised in Minneapolis, Starks sang his first solos in church. The soaring power of gospel music took hold of him at a young age, as did the pop songs, soul records, and R&B hits that he’d listen to at home, hidden from the rest of the world behind his family’s couch, headphones pressed to his ears. To Starks, it all sounded like magic.
“I’d sit there and listen to music for hours,” he remembers, rattling off a list of artists whose songs soundtracked his childhood in Minnesota. “Boyz II Men. Stevie Wonder. R Kelly. Kirk Franklin. Yolanda Adams. The Clark Sisters. I know what it feels like to be absolutely mesmerized by music when you’re young, because that’s what happened to me. And starting at an early age, I knew I wanted to create music that did the same thing for others,” he shares with us.
Raised by a single mother, his youth was shaped by insecurity and a strong desire to please those around him. It wasn’t until he moved to Nashville that he discovered his true identity and self-worth, both personally and professionally. Securing a record deal within his first six months of arriving in the town, Starks went on to thrive in a place whose music community was as diverse as the songs he wanted to write. His newfound confidence has shaped the music he’s crafting: a melting pot of old-school R&B, retro pop, and Motown magic rooted in love, acceptance, and inclusion.
It’s only a year or so into Starks’s recording career, but a handful of songs under his belt is all Starks needs to take the first few steps in what’s sure to be a long career in music. It’s his humility that sees him settling in for the long run, as well as the universality which he brings to his music — creating something for everyone to enjoy while sticking close to his authentic self.
“I’m an artist and an activist, and I use my music to share a message,” says the singer, whose aim is and has always been to put his own unique stamp on the music he’s creating, taking cues from the music of his parents and his heritage and translating it into something wholly unique. “This is music that will make you dance and make you feel good, but it says something, too. I’m always exploring who I am as an artist, and I hope these songs can inspire others to do the same.”