Wyatt Flores, a Rising Country Artist, Has a Superpower: Tapping Emotions

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In early February, the singer and songwriter Wyatt Flores relaxed on a green room couch in Nashville before headlining the 1,200-capacity Brooklyn Bowl for the first time. The show had sold out nearly instantly, thanks in part to “Life Lessons,” his seven-song EP filled with raw, emotional country songs that added fuel to the “blowup” — his word for the last year of his career and life.

Flores, now 22, had been playing professionally since age 16 and releasing music since 2021 when his song “Please Don’t Go” caught fire on social media in early 2023. The spare track, written by Flores as a plea to a loved one not to take their life, features a simple fingerpicked guitar arrangement, centering the song on his raw vocals. His emotion resonated with fans, helping Flores stand out among the young, stripped-down singer-songwriters that country music is rapidly embracing.

“I’ve always talked about mental health, and that’s what that song is,” Flores said, “so I made a video explaining it — me sitting there in the studio doing a little acoustic of it. Next thing you know, it just started spinning. I could not believe it. I went from doing lives on TikTok at 2 in the morning, and there’d be 24 people in there. Next thing I know, I’ve got a thousand, then 1,500.”

Suddenly, he found himself included in discussions about the future of country music. The rise left Flores, who had always struggled with anxiety, in a constant state of near panic.

Less than a week after the Nashville show, he broke down during a gig in Kansas City, Mo., telling the crowd in a lengthy address that he felt numb despite his musical dreams coming true. The next day, his managers made the call to pull him off the road.

“I had to focus on being me, and finding things that I love, and putting myself back into my own skin, honestly,” he said in March, chatting once again on a backstage couch — this one in a tiny green room at Wooly’s, a rock bar in the heart of Des Moines, Iowa. Downstairs, fans at the sold-out venue were filing in for his first club show back. During his break, Flores cut his long hair, and was now wearing it in a mop covering his eyes.

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