Washed OutWashed Out

Washed Out, the musical persona of Ernest Weatherly Greene Jr., is a name that has become synonymous with the chillwave genre. Born on October 3, 1982, in Perry, Georgia, Greene has carved a unique niche in the music industry as a singer, songwriter, and record producer. His journey from a small-town upbringing to becoming a pivotal figure in contemporary music is a testament to his creativity and resilience.

Early Life and Education

Growing up in Georgia, Greene’s early years were influenced by the rich musical landscape of the American South. After high school, he pursued higher education at the University of Georgia, earning an undergraduate degree. He then furthered his studies, obtaining a Master of Library and Information Science. Despite his academic achievements, Greene faced challenges in securing a job as a librarian, leading him to return to his parents’ home.

During this transitional phase, he began to explore music more seriously. Setting up a bedroom studio, he started producing tracks and collaborating with a local band known as Bedroom, focusing on dance music. This period of experimentation was crucial in shaping his musical identity.

The Birth of Washed Out

In 2008, Greene experimented with lo-fi rock under the alias Lee Weather. However, it was the emergence of Washed Out in the summer of 2009 that marked a significant turning point in his career. His music, initially shared on Myspace, quickly caught the attention of influential music bloggers. They praised his sound as a blend of “drowsy, distorted dance pop,” reminiscent of artists like Neon Indian and Memory Tapes.

Greene’s initial recordings laid the groundwork for his future success, capturing a distinctive sound that would define chillwave. This genre, characterized by its dreamy, nostalgic quality, became a defining aspect of Greene’s artistry.

Breakthrough and Recognition

The release of his first two extended plays in August and September 2009 marked the official debut of Washed Out. Greene’s live performance at Santos Party House in New York City was one of his early showcases, further solidifying his presence in the music scene. In 2010, he gained more visibility by performing at the Pitchfork Music Festival, and his song “Feel It All Around” was selected as the opening theme for the television series Portlandia, exposing his music to an even broader audience.

In April 2011, Greene signed with Sub Pop, a major milestone in his career. His debut album, Within and Without, was released on July 12, 2011. The album received critical acclaim, peaking at #26 on the Billboard 200 and #89 on the UK Albums Chart. This debut not only showcased his talent but also established him as a key figure in the chillwave movement.

Continued Success and Evolution

Following his debut, Washed Out continued to evolve artistically. His second album, Paracosm, released on August 13, 2013, featured the singles “It All Feels Right” and “Don’t Give Up.” The album further explored Greene’s signature sound while incorporating new musical elements. Notably, his track “New Theory” from the earlier EP Life of Leisure gained renewed attention when it was featured in a scene from the film The Spectacular Now.

By May 2014, Greene was busy working on his third studio album, indicating his commitment to continuous growth as an artist. He announced the “Get Lost” tour in May 2017, building anticipation for his upcoming projects.

Mister Mellow and New Directions

On June 30, 2017, Washed Out released Mister Mellow, his third album produced at Stones Throw Records with the assistance of Cole M.G.N. This album showcased a more experimental side of Greene, embracing a variety of sounds while staying true to his chillwave roots.

In April 2018, he released “Face Up” as part of Adult Swim’s Singles Series, which later became a part of his fourth studio album, Purple Noon, released on August 7, 2020. Leading up to this release, Greene unveiled singles like “Too Late” and “Time to Walk Away,” further expanding his sonic landscape.

Recent Developments and Future Projects

As of May 2024, Washed Out announced his fifth studio album, Notes From A Quiet Life. The first single from this album, “The Hardest Part,” was accompanied by a visually striking video created in collaboration with OpenAI’s Sora. This innovative approach reflects Greene’s willingness to embrace new technologies and artistic expressions, keeping his music relevant in a rapidly changing industry.

Conclusion

Ernest Weatherly Greene Jr., known as Washed Out, has made a significant impact on the music world through his unique blend of genres and his ability to connect with listeners on a personal level. From his humble beginnings in Georgia to his rise as a chillwave pioneer, his journey is marked by creativity, resilience, and an unwavering commitment to his craft. As he continues to evolve and produce new music, Greene remains a vital force in the contemporary music landscape, inspiring aspiring artists and captivating fans around the world.

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