Luke Wade’s journey has carried him from Dublin, Texas to Fort Worth and beyond — and he’s just getting started.
In the past, Dublin, Texas’s sole claim to fame was the Dr. Pepper produced at its local bottling plant. Famous among soda cognoscenti, the Dublin Dr. Pepper Bottling Company was the only plant in the world that produced the original, cane sugar-sweetened recipe of the iconic soda.
As of 2012, Dublin Bottling Works no longer produces Dr. Pepper, and it has fallen to another homegrown original to account for the town’s wider distinction. Singer-songwriter Luke Wade, who came to fame on the stage of NBC’s The Voice, counts Dublin as his hometown. Throughout the course of Luke’s childhood and adolescence, it was this Texas town that provided the inspiration now given voice in his heartfelt songs.
“Growing up in a small town had a definite effect on my journey, which affected my story and perspective, and the sentiment of my writing,” says Luke. “More specifically, I think it gave me the advantage of being a blank slate for longer.”
This “small town advantage,” where the horizons of childhood fall firmly within town and family, can drive a person inward and cause them to cultivate the imagination and creative faculties. An openness and receptivity to new experiences can come with the sudden exposure to new influences.
“I was 18 when I left home for college,” says Luke. “I saw so many things for the very first time. At home we’d go to the city to get school clothes, but that was it. There were a lot of things I hadn’t seen or experienced.”
This exposure ballooned rapidly with Luke’s stint on national television, where he made it deep into The Voice’s seventh season and gained a widespread following. Luke’s career began well before The Voice, however.
“I had just released my second album, The River, before the show started,” says Luke. “We had an album release with maybe 600 to 700 people, so things were going pretty well. The show took it to to a different level, though.”
While The Voice may have brought Luke fame, he credits the true genesis of his career to the music-loving public of Fort Worth. Luke moved to Fort Worth after college in 2008, and got his first break at the club located across the street from his apartment.
“I begged the owner to let me play there on Monday nights,” says Luke. “I built that night up until a couple hundred people would come. I’d burn CDs for every show, hang flyers in all the coffee shops, stuff more flyers in the Fort Worth Weeklies, so people would find them. I really hustled in Fort Worth, and the city responded.”
In acknowledgment of Luke’s work ethic and success, Mayor Betsy Price inaugurated December 4th as Luke Wade Day.
“Fort Worth has definitely rallied around me,” says Luke. “Not only is it my home, but I feel indebted to it as well.”
Fans of Luke Wade can look forward to two special gifts: his third studio album, nearing completion, and a special headlining set at the MAIN ST Arts Festival on Friday, April 15th. The new album is born from an intensely fruitful period, in which Luke pushed himself to confront past fears in the attainment of new creative heights.
“This record is about my coming to understand that the things I’m afraid of are the things I need the most,” says Luke. “The previous album took about eight months, but with this one, we went into the studio and finished the tracking in four-and-a-half days.”
As for inspiration, Luke identifies two main sources that inform his art.
“The first is writing from your place in the world, when you draw inspiration from what’s around you,” says Luke. “Then, for me, I try to find some dark corners in my life and shine a light on them. I try to get out of my comfort zone and think about the nature of my relationships, my fixation on romantic love, and what about that is real and what is not.”
This new album marks a leap forward for Luke, as he refines his songwriting and performances, and pushes himself to make the most of his gifts and opportunities.
“I understand that I’m very fortunate to have a voice that is recognizable and can make people feel things,” says Luke. “What I wanted to do with this new album is cut a lot of the fat, to focus on writing great songs and recording great performances.”