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From Collaboration to Creation – Wallace and Iglesias Unveil ‘Footprints’


From Collaboration to Creation – Wallace and Iglesias Unveil ‘Footprints’

I first met JonPaul Wallace and Bryan Hugo Iglesias on a sweltering Detroit afternoon. The air conditioning in Assemble Sound studios was fighting a losing battle against the heat, but the duo didn’t seem to notice. They were too busy arguing over a snare drum sound.

“It needs more snap,” Iglesias insisted, his wild hair seeming to stand even more on end with each emphatic gesture.

Wallace shook his head. “Nah, man. It’s perfect as is. Trust me.”

This friendly back-and-forth, I would learn, is the secret sauce behind their upcoming EP, “Footprints.” Set to drop on July 26, it’s a collection that defies easy categorization – much like Detroit itself.

“We’re like the city,” Wallace told me later, as we grabbed coffee at a nearby diner. “A little bit of everything, you know? Soul, funk, pop. It’s all in there.”

The five tracks on “Footprints” bear this out. From the infectious groove of their first single “Work With Me” (featuring local rapper stoop lee) to more introspective cuts, the EP showcases a range that’s impressive for a debut collaboration.

The duo isn’t slowing down, either. Their second single, ‘Give Everybody Hell,’ is set to drop on June 27th. ‘It’s got a different vibe,’ Iglesias teased, a mischievous glint in his eye. ‘We’re excited to see how people react to this one.’

The music video for ‘Work With Me’ has already made waves, taking a minimalist approach that lets the music shine. Shot in a stark studio setting with vintage color-corrected white walls and floor, it has the raw energy of a live performance. ‘We wanted to strip everything back,’ Wallace explained. ‘Just us, the music, and nothing else to distract from that.’ The clean backdrop highlights Wallace’s dynamic presence, Iglesias’s distinctive production style (and equally distinctive hair), and stoop lee’s cool demeanor, complete with his signature Detroit Tigers cap.”

But don’t call it a departure. “This is who we’ve always been,” Iglesias said, absently stirring his now-cold coffee. “We’re just finally putting it all out there.”

The path to “Footprints” wasn’t always smooth. Wallace, known for his soulful vocals, and Iglesias, a producer with a knack for earworm hooks, initially clashed over their vision for the project.

“There were days I wanted to strangle him,” Wallace admitted with a laugh, glancing at his partner. Iglesias grinned back. “The feeling was mutual.”

Yet it’s this tension that gives “Footprints” its edge. In a music scene that often feels saturated with cookie-cutter pop, Wallace and Iglesias have created something that feels both familiar and fresh.

Local music critic Samantha Rodriguez agrees. “It’s like they’ve taken the DNA of Detroit music and reassembled it into something new,” she told me over the phone. “It’s exciting stuff.”

Not everyone’s convinced, though. I spoke with Mark Thompson, a veteran producer, who expressed reservations. “It’s polished, sure,” he said. “But is it Detroit? I’m not so sure.”

It’s a criticism the duo is familiar with. “Look, we love this city,” Wallace said, leaning forward intently. “Its history, its grit. But we’re not here to make a museum piece. We’re making music for now.”

As our conversation wound down, I asked about their hopes for the EP. Iglesias paused, considering. “Obviously, we want people to like it,” he said slowly. “But more than that… we want them to feel it. To connect with it.”

Wallace nodded in agreement. “Yeah, man. If someone out there hears this and feels a little less alone? That’s the real win.”

With the release party at El Club already sold out and buzz building online, it seems Wallace and Iglesias are on the verge of something big. Whether “Footprints” will be the breakout hit they’re hoping for remains to be seen. But one thing’s for sure – Detroit’s music scene just got a whole lot more interesting.

Fans can keep up with JonPaul Wallace and Bryan Hugo Iglesias through their active social media presence, where they share updates, behind-the-scenes looks, and more about their music and upcoming performances. For more on these talented artists, visit their pages on Facebook, JonPaul’s Instagram, Bryan’s Instagram, YouTube, JonPaul’s TikTok, and Bryan’s TikTok.

As I left the diner, the opening notes of “Work With Me” drifted from a passing car. Wallace and Iglesias exchanged a look of surprise, then broke into wide grins. Sometimes, the future announces itself in unexpected ways. For these two Detroit artists, it sounds like their moment might just be now.

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