HOMETOWN: Los Angeles
INFLUENCES: Paul McCartney, Randy Newman, Harry Nilsson
ALBUM: Linda Vista, out now
WEBSITE: henrywolfe.com

He may be the only musician in his immediate family, but Henry Wolfe clearly has creativity in his DNA: His father is respected sculptor Don Gummer, his mother is movie icon Meryl Streep and two of his three sisters are actors as well. Wolfe began channeling his own artistic impulses into music after receiving a guitar for his 14th birthday, an instrument he immediately began using to write songs. After college he set out for New York City, where he formed the band Bravo Silva—only to see the group dissolve a year after releasing its self-titled debut album. After the breakup, Wolfe says, “I found myself with the unique opportunity to expand my horizons as a songwriter. I no longer had to write songs that fit into a mold. I was free to move, literally and artistically.”

So he headed home to L.A., where he busied himself playing jazz and pop standards on piano at a downtown lounge—songs that made a major impact on his own music. “I wanted to write songs that had more in common with the music my grandfather listened to when he was my age,” he explains. “There is something almost quotidian about the language of those songs. They have clear messages that are uncomplicated, easy to understand and yet really profound.”

Wolfe channeled those influences, as well as his love for easygoing 1970s West Coast pop and rock, into his first full-length solo album of original material, Linda Vista. He and producers Nico Aglietti and Aaron Older (both members of L.A. band Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes) recorded the album over a three-year period. “I’m trying to make indelible pop music, or my version of it,” Wolfe says. “While many contemporary groups form their identity around a sound, for better or worse, I hang my hat on my songs.”

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