Wells at Rocket Carousel Studio, Los Angeles; 2016
|Origin||Peterborough, Ontario, Canada|
Greg Wells is a Canadian record producer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and audio engineer. Wells has songs on over 130 million albums sold and streaming numbers in billions. He has produced and written with John Legend, Adele, Rufus Wainwright, The Greatest Showman: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Twenty One Pilots, Carrie Underwood, Deftones, Taylor Swift, Pharrell Williams, Dua Lipa, Keith Urban, Team Sleep, Katy Perry, Kid Cudi, Creeper Lagoon, Theophilus London, Ariana Grande, Weezer, OneRepublic, Kelly Clarkson, Pink, Otep, All American Rejects, Jars of Clay, Aerosmith, Mika, Grace VanderWaal, Jamie Cullum, Celine Dion, Crash Test Dummies, and music legends Quincy Jones, Elton John, Burt Bacharach, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and the Count Basie Orchestra.
A classically trained multi-instrumentalist, Wells is featured as a drummer in Modern Drummer, as a pianist in Keyboard, as a synth programmer in Electronic Musician, as a songwriter in American Songwriter and Billboard, and as a producer, mix engineer, and music maker on the cover of Mix with Ryan Tedder in the May 2017 edition.
Wells grew up in the town of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, the son of United Church of Canada minister Dr. Reverend Bill Wells. At age 11, he was in a wheelchair unable to walk for two years with Perthes' disease. Wells attended Adam Scott CVI, learned to play several instruments, and joined many musical ensembles in his hometown from the local orchestra to bar bands to being a church organist/choir director, as well as DJing dances and presenting a weekly radio show on Trent University Radio CFFF-FM. He studied classical piano, drums, pipe organ, orchestral percussion and music theory at Toronto's Royal Conservatory of Music. At age 15, Wells was awarded the top prize out of all categories in the Peterborough Kiwanis Music Festival, the Founders Award, and represented Peterborough twice at the Kiwanis Music Provincial Finals for the province of Ontario. At age 17, he attended the Humber College Jazz Music Program in Toronto as a piano major.
After moving from Peterborough to Toronto at age 17, Wells worked as a live and studio musician with Canadian musicians Rob McConnell and Kim Mitchell. He joined Kim Mitchell's band at age 19. Wells recorded keyboards and backing vocals on Mitchell's Rockland, toured Canada several times with the band, and won the award for Best Keyboardist at the 1990 Toronto Music Awards.
Wells was awarded a Canada Council arts grant to study in Los Angeles with Clare Fischer, composer and string arranger for Prince. He traveled to Los Angeles at age 21 with the intention of returning to Canada, but Fischer began recommending Wells as a pianist. Wells joined k.d. lang's band soon afterward, performing with her on the 1993 Grammy Awards where she won Best Pop Female Vocal.
His first recorded song as a songwriter was with Aerosmith on the double platinum Nine Lives, followed by "The Reason" on Celine Dion's 31 million selling album, Let's Talk About Love. DreamWorks executive Lenny Waronker tapped Wells in 2001 to produce Rufus Wainwright. Songwriter Kara DioGuardi started collaborating with Wells in 2003. Wells then produced, mixed and played most of the instruments on Mika's 5 million selling #1 debut album Life In Cartoon Motion.
In 2007, Wells produced both Timbaland's and OneRepublic's version of the song, "Apologize". Wells has written and produced on most of Katy Perry's albums, including "Cozy Little Christmas" in 2018, reaching number 1 on the US AC chart.
The Greatest Showman: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, produced and mixed by Wells, was the biggest selling worldwide album of 2018.
Wells has designed best selling music software, creating the "El Rey" compressor plugin with Acustica Audio and Studio DMI, and a signature series of plugins with Waves Audio.
Wells, Ryan Tedder and Nina Woodford co-wrote (with Wells producing and mixing) the 2019 Special Olympics theme song "Right Where I'm Supposed To Be", executive produced by Quincy Jones. The song was performed by Ryan Tedder, Avril Lavigne, Luis Fonsi, Hussain Al Jassmi, Assala Nasri and Tamer Hosny live at the opening ceremonies in Abu Dhabi.
Wells produced the song "Beautiful Ghosts" performed by Taylor Swift for the 2019 film Cats, an adaptation of the 1981 musical of the same name. The song is co-produced with Cats creator Andrew Lloyd Webber, and written by Taylor Swift and Lloyd Webber.
Wells donates an annual music scholarship to the Humber College Music Program where he attended in Toronto. Wells also gives away a new drum kit from his Instagram and Twitter account every three months to aspiring drummers around the globe, and partners with Roland Corporation to give away a keyboard every three months. Wells often donates his mixing services to fundraise for Doctors Without Borders.
Wells received the Pensado Giant Award at the 2017 Pensado Awards for achievements in the field of record-making. He has been nominated for a Grammy three times, and won a Grammy in 2019 for his production and mixing on The Greatest Showman film and soundtrack album. In June 2015, Wells was awarded an honorary degree from his alma mater Humber College, a music school in Toronto. Wells was nominated as producer of the year in 2000 and 2019 at the Canadian Juno Awards.
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|2008||"Love Today"||Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording||Nominated|
|2011||Teenage Dream||Grammy Award for Album of the Year||Nominated|
|2019||The Greatest Showman: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack||Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media||Won|
Wells is married to Swedish songwriter Nina Woodford. He has six children. He works out of his studio in Los Angeles.
- John Legend – Wells mixed, performed piano, co-wrote and co-produced the song "Never Break" from the 2020 album Bigger Love.
- Carrie Underwood – Wells produced and arranged the 2020 album My Gift.
- The Greatest Showman: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Wells won a 2019 Grammy Award for producing and mixing this number 1 album on iTunes in 77 countries, number 1 in the UK album sales chart for 28 weeks, number 1 in the US album sales chart for three weeks, with the single "This Is Me" winning a 2018 Golden Globe and nominated/performed on the 2018 Academy Awards. The album was the biggest selling album of 2018 worldwide.
- Adele – "One and Only" on Adele's album 21.
- Twenty One Pilots – produced and mixed 2x Platinum album Vessel.
- Taylor Swift – produced the Golden Globe nominated song "Beautiful Ghosts" .
- Keith Urban – produced and co-wrote number 1 hit on the US Country Airplay chart "Wasted Time".
- Katy Perry – produced, mixed, and co-wrote number 1 hit "Cozy Little Christmas" on US AC chart Dec 2018; performed "By the Grace of God", co-written and produced by Wells, at the 2015 Grammy Awards; produced her top 10 US single "Waking Up in Vegas"; produced and co-wrote with Perry "Ur So Gay", and produced and co-wrote "Not Like the Movies" performed live by Katy and Wells at the 2011 Grammy Awards.
- OneRepublic – produced both versions of worldwide number 1 hit "Apologize", both the Timbaland remix released first and the OneRepublic original version.
- Mika – produced, mixed, and played electric guitar, drums, piano and bass guitar on Mika's chart-topping debut single "Grace Kelly" from the album Life in Cartoon Motion which stayed at number 1 for seven weeks in the UK.
- Jeff Bateman (November 18, 2014). "Crash Test Dummies". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved September 11, 2019.
- Larry LeBlanc (February 27, 1999). "Dummies Hand In their Latest Set". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.: 18–21. ISSN 0006-2510.
- "Features: Greg Wells". Modern Drummer, Stephen Belans, July 2016.
- "Musician returns to church that seeded career". Peterborough Examiner, By Jessica Nyznik, March 7, 2016
- "Peterborough’s music pedigree a secret no more". My Kawartha, Dec 12, 2014 by Paul Rellinger.
- Larry LeBlanc (February 27, 1999). "Dummies Hand In their Latest Set". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.: 18–21la. ISSN 0006-2510.
- Jo Berry (March 31, 2011). Katy Perry: California Gurl. Orion Publishing Group. pp. 29–. ISBN 978-1-4091-3362-9.
- ""Beautiful Ghosts" (From The Motion Picture Cats) by Taylor Swift". Tidal. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
- "Student Awards". Humber College
- "Producer/songwriter Greg Wells creates drum giveaway program". Modern Drummer, 2013-07
- "Fourth annual Pensado awards honor Greg Wells". Mix Online
- Larry LeBlanc (February 12, 2000). "Morissette leads Canada's Juno nomination list". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.: 45–. ISSN 0006-2510.
- "Greg Wells". GRAMMY.com. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
- "Billboard Chart Beat" Archived May 20, 2009, at the Wayback Machine