Fort Lauderdale musician Dwight Pendelton goes by the mysterious moniker Washa. He's a singer and songwriter that crafts complex tunes he calls "baroque pop."
Pendleton, 20, is creating the sound of a three-piece group on his own. His recently released four-song EP The Bright, Part 1 shimmers with dreamy and ethereal soundscapes, layered with the artist's choirboy voice and spare guitar riffs all drenched in reverb and atmospherics. The sublimely beautiful collection of songs is a surreal, intense, gripping, and emotional journey.
Originally from northern Virginia, Pendleton grew up listening to classic rock and playing the guitar, but never saw himself as a musician. It was a dream, but never something he thought could actually happen. In 2010, Pendleton began writing and composing his own music, experimenting with different instruments to compose the original pieces heard.
"People who know me know that I am primarily a singer and guitarist," says Pendleton. "But when I'm in the process of composing, I'll pick up the instrument I want to hear, and teach myself the part to record. Whether that's percussion, bass, keys, or some type of flute just depends on what I envision for the piece."
Washa has an experimental edge with a folklorish touch. The artist's debut EP is a raw and exposing story of the cycle of loss, despair, and hope. Everyone can relate to these songs. They're about finding the person you're aspiring to become, and the fear of failing. They are also the stories of hopes and dreams, and how hard it can be to get moving in the right direction to make them a reality.
"I wanted it to touch on the idea that the lives we live weren't meant to go unfulfilled," says Pendleton. "The concept is that everyone has something they're facing. The future, a decision, a choice. It's the unforeseen that we must all face, whether we're ready or not."
As for his name "Washa," the word translates to "rekindle" in an African language. His sounds are sure to spark emotion, even the ones you thought were buried long ago.
"The music I make," he continues, "is what I believe needs to be portrayed in art. The beauty of life can be equally surreal and unappreciated. I try to write songs that delve deeper than the surface level that's so common to our culture."
These days, Washa is busy recording The Bright Part 2, the culmination of the complete story. He says it will bring more clarity to the uncertainty of his journey. And he points out that he's not on this creative journey alone.
"Musical talent in South Florida is huge," says Pendleton. "When people think South Florida, they think Miami and the club scene, but there is so much creativity going on in this area. Not just me, but so many other artists. I'm excited to see how it develops."
Washa will be performing at Lake Worth exhibition space UNIT 1 during the opening of "It's Going To Be Okay," the solo show of rising talent Woody Othello.
Washa and Boy Orbison. "It's Going To Be Okay", Unit 1, 1202 Lucerne Ave., Lake Worth. He'll also be joining Hypoluxo during its first East Coast tour stop on February 2 at Radio-Active Records, 845 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale. Visit Washa on Facebook.
Nicole Danna is a food blogger covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.
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