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Makin Waves with The Well Wish: 'Where We Go from Here'


By Bob Makin

originally published: 07/08/2024

Makin Waves with The Well Wish:

Asbury Park-based The Well Wish are the Makin Waves Artist of the Month for July and the winner last month of the third annual Point Pleasant Beach Battle of the Bands sponsored by the Point Pleasant Beach Chamber of Commerce. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE WELL WISH

Writing and performing songs together for a decade, guitarist-vocalist PJ Angeloni and vocalist-keyboardist-guitarist Anya Schildge not only merged their love of ear-catching melodies and stylish guitar hooks, they also merged their lives. The married couple have created two EPs, 2016’s three-song “Of Heart and Mind” and 2023’s “Promises,” as well as two daughters.

Having expanded from a duo to a five-piece, their Asbury Park-based band The Well Wish also includes pianist-vocalist Elena Worton, bassist Prash Singh, and drummer Andy Kirkpatrick.

Anya won the 2023 Makin Waves Award for Best Vocalist. More recently, the band won another honor: the third annual Point Pleasant Beach Battle of the Bands.

Sponsored by the Point Pleasant Beach Chamber of Commerce, the June band battle featured a $1,000 prize that The Well Wish will apply to their next recording project. The event was in tribute to late founder Chris Bozadzis, as well as Jillian Ludwig, who had competed in the 2023 battle with her band, Good Morning Beautiful, but was killed by a stray bullet during her freshman year at Belmont University in Nashville.



 
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I recently spoke to PJ and Anya about the band battle win, as well as their history and future plans. Enjoy the following chat with The Well Wish, the July Makin Waves Artist of the Month.

How did it feel to win the Point Pleasant Beach Battle of the Bands?

PJ: I was very surprised because there were so many amazing bands on the bill.

Anya: It felt very validating that other people were able to enjoy our music as much as we enjoy playing and writing it!

 

What will the band do with your $1,000 prize?

PJ:  We are planning to use the prize money for recording some new music.



 
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Anya: Recording some of our new material is definitely on the horizon! We went into the competition hoping that we would place so we could use the money for recording.

Makin Waves with The Well Wish:

Anya was the winner of 2023 Makin Waves Award for Best Vocalist. PHOTO BY STUDIO 42 MEDIA

 

Did you receive any other prizes or rewards?

PJ: Aside from the Makin Waves Album of the Month in Sept. 2023 and Anya winning the Best Vocalist Award that same year, we haven’t.

Anya: PJ said it all here! It is an honor to be acknowledged for anything related to our music and our performance. We get so much joy out of performing. To get recognized for what we do is always such a great feeling!

 

Did you know Chris Bozadzis, the fella who founded the band Battle three years ago, but died in late 2023?

PJ: I knew him through the Battle of the Bands. He was so passionate about this event and really made it special.

Anya: I only knew him through the event but have heard such amazing things about him. When we were at Battle of the Bands, we ran into vendors, performers, and spectators that were all sharing their stories about their friendships and partnerships with him. This performance was so important because we were honoring his legacy, as well as paying tribute to Jillian, who we were able to play with last year.



 
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Are The Well Wish based in Point Pleasant Beach?

PJ: We aren’t. The band is based around the Monmouth County area.

Anya: But we have family down there and we are so happy that we have been included in their show!

 

Could only Pt. Beach bands compete in the band battle or could any band from anywhere participate?

PJ: This event was open to all types of genres and areas in New Jersey.

Anya: Having such an array of musicians from around New Jersey makes it a great representation of the talent from the area.

 

Who did you compete against?

PJ: We shared the stage with Baron Praxis, Black Inti, Johnny Weasel, Soup, Madworld, Via Crowe, Internet Humor, Leopard Monks, Sunrise Cries, and Atomic Battery.

Anya: Playing with musicians from so many genres made it a really dynamic night and kept everyone really engaged.

 

How, when and where did you meet?

Anya: We met in 2014 while we were both working at Lakehouse Music Academy (in Asbury Park). We love working with kids and happened to be paired up in a lot of their student groups (4 years to 18-year-olds). We quickly realized in this environment, that we work pretty well together! PJ ended up collaborating on some of the music that I was making at the time and then it turned into creating music of our own. It has been fun to see how different phases of our lives have shaped our music, and we are excited to see where the music goes in years to come!

 

When I first saw The Well Wish, you were a duo. Now the band is bigger. Who is in The Well Wish, what do they play, and how did you connect with them?

PJ: The band is a five piece. We have Anya on vox and acoustic guitar, Elena Worton on backing vocals and piano, Prash Singh on Bass, Andy Kirkpatrick on Drums, and myself on guitar. Prash has been with us for about seven years.  Andy and Elena are new to the band. Both joined within the year.

I met Prash through a musician’s network online. It is called Bandmix. Anya was introduced to Elena through a contact at Monmouth University. Both Anya and Elena graduated there. Anya and I met Andy through our church.

Anya: We are both SO happy with where the band is right now. This lineup for The Well Wish is a mixture of people from multiple different connections in our lives. Each member brings their own musical influences to what we have written and it helps the songs come alive. Having Elena on keys and backing vocals has been a game changer as it allows me to focus on performance and lyrical content. All in all, we have a group of musicians and friends that make creating music possible. We can’t wait to see where we go from here!



 
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I don’t think you were married yet when I first saw The Well Wish. You definitely didn’t have kids yet. Now you have two daughters. How does parenthood impact the band, and how do you balance both?

PJ: Having two daughters is amazing. Obviously, there is a balancing act that has to happen when it comes to the band and other things that happen on a day-to-day basis. As the girls get older, for me, it is a lot of fun having them around for our practices -- wearing headphones, of course -- and at shows that are during the day. Having music around was something that I experienced as a child, and it's really great to have the same for our daughters. Our band is great about scheduling. All of them have families and other obligations, but because of our communication, we are able to meet at least once a week to rehearse.

Anya: PJ and I both said that when we had kids, we wanted to make sure that we continued making music. This isn’t only important for ourselves but also important for our daughters to see that having a passion and working for it is important. It can definitely be difficult to manage rehearsals with a baby monitor switching between the girl’s rooms or pausing rehearsals to change a diaper and/or help our older daughter with her artwork, but we make it work! We are honestly really grateful to have band mates who understand the distractions and have patience with the process. Watching our daughters take to music, sing to our lyrics, and dance to our songs makes every obstacle worth it! We hope that by watching their parents work toward their craft, they will create goals and dreams of their own.

 

When will you follow up ‘The Promise’ and how?

PJ: We’re looking to start recording by the end of the summer. All of us are excited to get into the studio and record more music.

Anya: We are hoping to start recording this summer with a five-song EP! We are SO excited to share these songs with everyone!

Makin Waves with The Well Wish:

PHOTO BY STUDIO 42 MEDIA

 

When and where will The Well Wish be performing?

PJ: Our next show will be in Shrewsbury on July 25.

Anya: Yes, we are excited for more chances to share our music with new and existing fans!

 

What are your day jobs?

PJ: I am a middle school history teacher.

Anya: I am a school counselor in a pre-K to 8 school in Monmouth County. I also work as an adjunct professor at Monmouth University.

Is there anything I didn’t ask on which you would like to comment?

PJ: We are just really excited about what the future holds for this band. There are so many songs that we can’t wait to put out into the world.

Anya: We are really grateful for what you do for the music community. It feels wonderful to be acknowledged, and we appreciate any chance to share the music we put so much of our heart into.

Bob Makin has produced Makin Waves since 1988. Follow Makin Waves on Facebook and contact Bob at makinwaves64@yahoo.com.



 
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