Loren Edward Wheeler
Loren Wheeler was introduced to music from an early age, singing in choirs throughout his childhood. It was through this that Loren cultivated a love of music, and at an early age performed with vocal group Cantus, vocalist Bobby McFerrin, and world-renowned conductors Helmut Rilling and Anton Armstrong in Oregon’s Youth Choral Academy. Loren began immersing himself in the styles of contemporary folk songwriters such as Nick Drake, Iron & Wine, and Jose Gonzalez, and began writing his first songs.
Loren studied classical opera performance at UC Santa Cruz under Brian Staufenbiel, and at University of Portland. He then studied Music and Consciousness under the guidance of Terry Setter at The Evergreen State College, and vocal jazz with Laurie Antonioli at the California Jazz Conservatory.
Today Loren Wheeler works as an accomplished songwriter, composer, videographer, and producer in Oregon, and around the world. His eclectic and diverse musical style traverses piano, guitar, voice, and numerous other instruments with ease. His unconventional approach to visuals and music often carries a tone of strong emotionality, space, and contemplative self-reflection.
Loren’s musical journey has been part and parcel with his self inquiry and healing journey: when he was 19, Loren fell 40 feet out of a redwood tree. Miraculously not breaking any bones, he nonetheless was significantly impacted and the subsequent years sent him on a recover and healing journey, from this and other numerous childhood physical injuries acquired during competitive athletics and being a rambunctious youth. These bodily injuries and other therapeutic inclinations provided a fuel which directed Loren to music, the arts, and healing modalities for catharsis, integration, and self exploration.
Loren’s first public release was a collection of improvised vocal works entitled Emily Grace, completed in 2013. The name originated from his parents’ alternate given birth name. Loren composed the 7 pieces over the course of one week. Each was improvised in the morning hours, following an intense and harrowing depressive episode following a relationship separation. The album was a major turning point for Loren, and helped him solidify the role of music as both a self-healing modality, and also as a means to share personal catharsis with others.
Following Emily Grace, Loren moved to Ashland, OR where he completed three albums over the course of 2014. Ambient Resonance, Listen, and the Three Voices EP. Ambient Resonance was composed as an hour-long meditative soundtrack to accompany biodynamic craniosacral sessions, a bodywork modality Loren was trained in by his mother, herself a longtime bodyworker, from an early age. The release of Listen was Loren’s first foray into publishing original guitar- and voice-based music, and shows his early proclivity toward authentic expression through lyrics, as well as the use of expansive and nuanced vocal harmonies. Three Voices EP is a study of four tracks which each use only three repeating vocal lines each.
In 2015, Loren moved to the Colestin Valley in Northern California, where he lived alone next to the Tashi Choling Tibetan Buddhist temple. His musical intention was to take inspiration from admired artists such as Bon Iver, Iron & Wine, and Jose Gonzalez, and write a fuller expression of life and growth into song. The quiet of the Colestin Valley informed the writing of Boutique deeply, providing a peaceful backdrop which is evident in these refined and often painfully vulnerable songs. With this album’s release, Loren laid a foundation for his coming work: saturated with feeling, drawing on both the beauty and also raw truth of a life. It was also his first release of collaboration with other musicians, percussionist Bill Schreiber and longtime friend and guitarist Jakob Pek, who he met while studying at The Evergreen State College.
The end of 2015 saw Loren moving to Portland, OR with his girlfriend and recording the extended track Shadows, Hope, Listen with Medicine for the People’s Max Ribner on trumpet and french horn. Also in 2015 was the recording of his first full length piano album, Home. Loren moved into an early-1900s craftsman rental with a grand piano in Ashland, OR, and recorded the improvised album in one day. The intention of the album was to create spacious and deep music to accompany tea ceremonies, a daily practice for Loren.
For the next year and half, Loren took a respite from releasing music publicly to concentrate on video work and self transformation/healing, and spent the time traveling through Guatemala and Peru with his partner, absorbing new cultural experiences and studying under teachers, retreating from public life to re-align with his purpose. Returning to music recording in 2017, he recorded the vocal album Sensual Enfoldment, a three song EP which revisits his vocal foundations and takes inspiration from Bobby McFerrin’s Circle Songs.
In 2017 Loren also completed a restrained and minimalist collection of songs which came to be titled October. The songs being written over eight years, it was Loren’s tribute to inspirations such as Nick Drake and Iron & Wine: a focus on guitar and the art of delicate songwriting and expression, with voice and poetry at the forefront.
At the end of 2017 and into 2018, Loren began learning beat making and embarked on an investigation of minimalist EDM. This study brought two public releases, Open the Mind and Within. Open the Mind is a trio of songs based around spacious beats which display Loren’s ability to weave a subtle and spacious emotional tone with textural diversity and an ear for diverse instrumentation and composition. The tracks Give it Up and Open the Mind were composed specifically for ecstatic dance where participants are given a musical framework to participate in physical and emotional catharsis and self-revelation. These songs were designed to support this process. Within was created in collaboration with vocalist Lo Campbell, who provided powerful and emotional vocals to compliment Loren’s spacious and organic composition.
Running parallel to Loren’s numerous musical releases, he had been working in video over the course of 2013-2020, producing over 100 videos related to consciousness and the arts, as well as profiles of teachers and organizations who facilitate self transformation. Loren is a self-taught videographer; as an extension of his extensive years of self healing and growth-oriented life philosophy, his video work fulfilled a desire to bring growth-oriented messages into the world in a multimedia capacity. More than self-help messages, these videos display a fundamental and consistent orientation toward self-revelation as a life philosophy, grounded in an intrinsic synergy with nature and natural process. They feature music videos of artists such as Yaima and The Ancient Wild, men’s elemental immersion retreats led by teacher Eli Buren, yoga and meditation retreat center School Yoga Institute and Mystical Yoga Farm, elephant conservation tours by Saving Ganesh, and breathwork retreats led by Inner Light Revival.
In addition to his video work for clients and other artists, Loren also produced, filmed, and edited his own music videos for his own songs. These include publicly released tracks such as I Believe and 3:15, as well as improvisational studio recordings of vocal and instrumental songs which show Loren’s skill and interest in improvisation and experimentation.
Utilizing a harmonizer, Body was Loren’s next musical release, in July of 2019. The Harmonizer, a technology employed by artists such as Imogen Heap and Bon Iver, translates live vocals onto a keyboard, enabling Loren to play live orchestrated voice-based compositions in realtime. He then released the single 3:15 on video and audio in March of 2020.
The beginning of 2020 saw Loren’s release of his 4th and 5th studio albums, Phoenix and Sunlight Through Leaves. Companion albums, they represent a culmination of Loren’s work on piano as a solo instrument and as a multi-instrumentalist and composer of rich landscapes of sound. Phoenix features voice, guitar, saxophone, piano, and percussion, and features collaborations with visual artist and flutist Lindy Kehoe as well as spoken word poet John Oak, both friends and longtime artistic collaborators. Phoenix is Loren’s artistic statement after a long and painful separation from a long-term partner of six years, and displays his ability to transmute the emotional and psychological aspects of the shadow sides of the human journey into art and music sound environments. Both chaotic and subtle, intense and also gentle and soothing, Phoenix shows Loren’s artistic and humanistic resilience.
Sunlight Through Leaves is the natural compliment to Phoenix, a delicate and intimate instrumental album which takes inspiration from Loren’s compositional piano heroes Olafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm, and Joep Beving. Played with gentle precision over felted piano strings, Loren combines piano and organ to create an understated compositions which allow the listener to be carried softly along rivers of song created with a light touch and space to breathe.
2022 brought Loren’s re-emergence post-pandemic with his 6th studio album, Anthems for Inner Peace.