Meet Kei Wells aka Dad, the virtual singer poised to take over your indie pop playlist. The up-and-coming artist’s digital playground sounds both serenely lighthearted and charming. But don’t be confused by the cyberspace aspect of Dad. Sure Instagram Illustrator Beverly Johnson may sketch Wells’ online persona, but the singer’s music is just as pertinent, honest, and real as you and I. And with “Smash Bros,” her second single ever, Dad just got a lot more honest.
The 19-year-old began the DIY project less than a year ago. Cartoon Wells turned to music after a breakup with her long-term boyfriend, whom she had followed to LA. After it ended, music was the only thing that could get her excited again. Following her first single, “Alligator,” Dad’s “Smash Bros” feels like a natural complement to her debut, with its wintery melody and insightful lyrical intent.
“Smash Bros” touches upon the natural dualities of life. People are so multidimensional. Who we are alone in our apartment versus who we are out with friends is different. We’re not always on, and of course we’re not always happy.
This is the driving energy behind Dad’s latest outing. Even when others try to build her up, their words aren’t enough. Still, we each have that one thing that can make us feel invincible. For Dad, it’s the timeless Nintendo game Super Smash Bros. Dad spoke further on the single, sharing,
“IRL I’d say I hide my feelings a lot. I say sorry way too much and probably need to take an online course on ’how to build confidence.’ I wrote this song about Smash Bros (s/o Masahiro Sakurai!!) because sometimes it feels like that game is the only thing that can get me out of my head. One second I’m S.A.D. girl, the next I’m King Dedede and nobody (not even my own self doubt) can f*ck with me.”
While her sound is epic, we aren’t sure we’ll ever find out who Dad actually is. But that’s okay because music is music, and this girl is making hers sound breezy and sincere.