Not many people can say heatstroke is what inspired them to start writing music—but Luke Wade can.
The Texas-born singer-songwriter and Season 7 finalist on The Voice began writing music after suffering from temporary brain damage and amnesia as a teenager after a high school cross country meet in the sweltering heat. Writing music became a way to heal, and Wade has been following his dream of becoming a professional musician ever since.
This Friday, Wade returns to Levitt Arlington for a free show kicking off UT Arlington Weekend at the Levitt. Learn more about the soul singer—who has been compared to the likes of Ray LaMontagne and who also performed at Levitt SteelStacks and Levitt Westport earlier this summer—before the show.
Raised in Dublin, Texas, Wade is the youngest of four children born to a visual artist father and dance teacher mother. Despite other childhood illnesses—Wade also had a near fatal case of spinal meningitis and is partially blind as a result of a paintball accident—he approaches life with an optimism that also applies to his music, an honest, heartfelt mix of rock, pop, soul and folk.
“I’ve had some things I had to deal with and I lived through some ordeals,” Wade said in an interview with The Morning Call. “I’m still standing and I’m still singing. It all could have been a lot worse. As long as you’re alive, you have hope and possibilities. What I’m about is making the most of those possibilities.”
In his mid-20s, Wade moved to Fort Worth, Texas, to pursue music full-time, gaining a loyal following playing clubs throughout the region. After watching his friends (and fellow Levitt artists) Dawn and Hawkes’ Season 6 run on The Voice, Wade chose to audition for Season 7, which aired in 2014, hoping it would open doors beyond the Texas music scene.
During the blind auditions, his version of soul classic “That’s How Strong My Love Is” got all four judges to turn their chairs, and Wade finished in the Top 8 with memorable performances of Hall & Oates’ “Rich Girl,” Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” and Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On,” among others.
Since leaving The Voice, Wade has gained a loyal fanbase, raising over $10,000 to crowdfund his sophomore album The River, released in 2014. Last month, he teamed up with fellow The Voice contestant Mia Z (Season 8) to record a cover of the iconic 1966 track “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” donating a majority of proceeds to breast cancer research.
Currently working on his third album and touring with his five-piece band No Civilians—whose members include his brother, David, on sax—Wade shows no signs of slowing down.
“I’m living a dream,” said Wade. “How many people can say they have a job that they always wanted? It’s a cool situation to be in. Being a recording artist means that I’m on endless cycles. I’ll put this album out and tour behind it and hopefully I’ll be able to do that again and again. I wouldn’t be exactly where I am without The Voice. I had a great platform. I ran with it and I’m running even harder today.”
Come see Luke Wade’s free show at Levitt Arlington this Friday, September 25, at 8 p.m.! And for folks in Charlottesville, Cleveland, Memphis, Middlesboro and Trenton, check out the other free shows happening this week at the Levitt.
Be sure to check your local Levitt for the latest concert info, including updates due to weather.