Concerts

Wellington Bullings Celebrates Because I Want To Two Years After Its Release

Bullings on the set of the music video for "Flame," the first single from her upcoming album.
Bullings on the set of the music video for "Flame," the first single from her upcoming album. Meg MacDonald
Nearly two years after releasing her debut studio album Because I Want To in July of 2020, singer-songwriter Wellington Bullings is finally able to give it a proper release party. This Saturday, May 7, Bullings is hosting a belated celebration at the Larimer Lounge, where she will perform songs from that album as well as preview a few tracks from an upcoming project. The Boulder native, now based in Louisville, is looking forward to being back in her element on stage. "I'm very excited about finally celebrating this project," she says.

For Bullings, a project isn't complete until she's able to commemorate it with a live show, which is why she never gave up on the idea, even as the years passed. "I released the album in 2020, but due to the pandemic, I was unable to have a CD release party, because the world shut down," Bullings explains. "I was devastated at the time, because one of the most important steps in releasing a project is to celebrate it with fans, friends and family, in person, with a live performance."

Thankfully, her patience paid off, and now Bullings has the chance to give her firstborn album the debut it deserves.
Bullings's music is influenced by her parents' love of ’90s soul and Caribbean music. - MEG MACDONALD
Bullings's music is influenced by her parents' love of ’90s soul and Caribbean music.
Meg MacDonald
Bullings decided to release Because I Want To despite the circumstances of 2020, because the project had already been three years in the making. "I knew it was the right time to release the music, and I wasn't about to wait another year," she recalls. "It was time, even if that meant I couldn't do the live show right away. Nothing compares to the feeling of sharing what you love with others, so it needed to be released." In many ways, the album is a tribute to the beauty and resiliency of Black women, so releasing it during the height of the racial injustice protests of 2020 also felt particularly powerful.

Bullings is bringing a whole crew of entertainers to celebrate with her at the Larimer Lounge. Devan Blake Jones, a Denver native who competed on the twentieth season of NBC's The Voice, will be playing an opening set along with fellow Denver musician Dzirae Gold. Bullings had only met Jones once a few years ago, but he came highly recommended by a mutual friend for his similarly soulful sound. Gold will also be singing backup vocals for Bullings with a full band that includes Patrick McDevitt on bass, Michael D'Angelo on drums, Tim Wendel on guitar and Adam Revell on keys.

"I'm excited to introduce a lineup that represents the diversity in Denver," Bullings says.
Bullings's voice has been compared to that of Norah Jones and Lianne La Havas. - MEG MACDONALD
Bullings's voice has been compared to that of Norah Jones and Lianne La Havas.
Meg MacDonald
In the years since releasing Because I Want To, Bullings has grown even more connected to the songs on the album, and feels that they've become more meaningful with time. She's eager to perform them live, and has switched up some of the instrumental arrangements to complement her live band.

"This show will not only revisit songs from the album with a fresh perspective and new arrangements, but the audience will also get a sneak peek into the beginning of my next project, which I'm currently working on," she teases.

Listeners can expect to hear a more developed and confident sound from Bullings on her upcoming release. She's evolved from her classical jazz roots to incorporate more romantic, soulful and R&B influences.

"I've grown so much as an artist since this album was released, and my songwriting has become much more intentional and simplified," she says. "This next project will be a little more produced, and more neo-soul-influenced. You'll still get a taste of similar elements that you heard on the last album, but it's much more assured."

Her first single off the new project, the Afrobeat-inspired track "Flame," dropped last October as a preview of what's to come. And Saturday's CD-release party is really a dual celebration, says Bullings.

"In a sense, we are celebrating two projects at once: The one that has passed, and the one that is coming," she says. "The evolution of the old with the new. I'm so glad that I ended up celebrating it this way, because it feels even more meaningful."

Wellington Bullings's CD-release show for Because I Want To takes place at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 7, at the Larimer Lounge, 2721 Larimer Street. Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Cleo Mirza recently graduated from Kenyon College with a degree in English and anthropology. She enjoys good food, cheap wine and the company of her dog, Rudy.
Contact: Cleo Mirza