Jackson Stell was a hip-hop producer from Massachusetts who went by the name J Beatz before traveling across country to California. Visiting Big Sur for the first time, surrounded by the beauty of the west coast, Stell became engulfed in wanderlust and had a life-altering change of heart that transformed not only his personality but the direction of his career. Embodying the curious free spirit, Stell switched his focus from creating hip-hop instrumentals to writing inspiring, emotional music through his own vocals, and just like that, Big Wild was born.
He quickly began to release music under his new moniker with singles like Aftergold in 2015, followed by his debut EP titled Invincible in 2017. Becoming one of EDM’s fastest rising stars, BIG Wild transformed electronic music with his own undeniable sound as he infused indie, soul, pop, and electronica. Then, just two years after Invincible, he released his debut 12 track album titled Superdream.
Superdream was released February 1, 2019 and is considered one of the most uplifting, self-reflective electronic albums of the millennia . If Big Wild was created because of Stell’s newfound love of the west coast and general curiosity of life, then Superdream attempts to capture every emotion, vulnerability, and challenges he faced along his journey towards realizing his personal dream.
Stell’s decision to write his music and perform his own vocals became an essential aspect of Superdream as it allowed him to incorporate real emotion and personal experiences in a way that wasn’t before possible being restrained to only production.
Big Wild was able to capture the essence of his being through inspiring lyrics and dreamlike soundscapes as he paints his vision of his “Superdream” in the mind of the listener. Exploring emotions of love, fear, curiosity, pain, and sorrow, Stell transcends contemporary electronic music and creates something utterly new and addicting.
“So far from the ones I know, so close to the one I love. This is the place I want to go because you are my home,” he sings on Purple Sand as he professes his love for California and his fiance while acknowledging how far away he is from his family, hometown, and who he used to be. While each song represents a different experience or emotion, the underlining message throughout the album remains the same. There is beauty in everything that life has to offer, whether it be good or bad, as long as you can feel that emotion.
On the song Maker, Big Wild explores his existential crisis that accompanied his diagnosis of thyroid cancer and not knowing if he was going to die. Yet, instead of basking in his sorrow, he displays his uncertain fate by pondering the new world or heavan that awaits him. “Another place where I can be Another dream to carry away, To carry away. Another world that waits for me. Another life I can wait for that” He sings.
Big Wild successfully captures every human emotion and experience in a positive light, whether it’s exclaiming his love on 6’s to 9’s and Alley Oop or exploring his adventurous side on City of Sound and Heaven.
Feeling more like a 70s disco record than an EDM album, Superdream is filled with funky sonic landscapes, blissed-out atmospheres, and glorious harmonies. Big Wild creates a form of pure expression that not only resonates with the concerns of being human but touches your soul ever so deeply as you can’t help but get lost in the nostalgic sound that is Big Wild.