You have been involved in music since you were very young. How did your love for music develop?
I started playing the piano when I was six years old and the drums when I was 11. I picked up the guitar at about 13. My mom and dad were church-going folks, so I was always singing and playing at church. I also played in rock bands and stuff growing up. I was a kid in the 80s, so hair bands were huge. And by the time I was in high school, I started listening to country music and really got into George Strait, Alan Jackson, Clint Black, Travis Tritt, Garth Brooks – the really good stuff.
And you went to college for music, too?
Yes, I got a percussion scholarship to Baylor, which was fantastic, because I couldn’t afford to go to that school and pay what it costs. So, I got a percussion degree and a minor in piano and voice. I got out and was doing studio work and stuff for a while, and my wife was a teacher. I was working nights and weekends, and she was working days, so we just didn’t line up. So, I finally decided to get a regular 8 to 5 job because my marriage wasn’t good. I did that, but we ended up getting a divorce anyway.
When did you decide you were ready to jump back into music?
I moved to Katy in 1998 and was working a regular day job; finally, in 2008, I was like, “I’ve really missed just playing. I’m just going to take my guitar and my keyboard and go to these little dive bars and just play by myself.” It was no big deal. I didn’t do it for the money; I just did it because it’s part of who I am. When God gives you those abilities and you don’t use them, it’s like you’re just starving a part of your soul and your heart. So, I started just playing for fun, and people were coming to see me–that was really strange to me. Things built and built, and the next thing you know people were telling me I should put a band together and go play at Mo’s Place in Katy and start playing other places. The next thing I knew we had put a band together and were opening for Billy Currington at Dixie Dance Hall in Beaumont, and we opened for Easton Corbin at House of Blues in Houston – it just went crazy.
You have put two albums out. What has that process been like?
We recorded the first album at Billy Hillman’s studio in Huntsville, and it turned out great. We released four singles off that album. On every album we do, we recut an old classic. On the first album, we redid Kiss an Angel Good Morning by Charlie Pride; and on this last one, we re-did Conway’s I’d Love to Lay You Down. I love that song.
What is your favorite part about the musical journey?
All of it. I love to perform. I love being on stage. I love entertaining people, having fun, making people laugh, smile, cry, whatever it is. Music is very emotional, which can be highs, fun emotions, and it can be a sad, heartbreaking emotion. We all go through all of that. As a writer, I try to write from all those aspects of my life. I’m not a great songwriter; I feel like I’m good, but I can always get better. But I write from the heart, and I feel like that’s honest and that’s true.
What are some of your favorite songs that you’ve written or recorded?
On the new CD, I’ve got a song called My Last Name. It talks about how I hope that as a husband and a dad, I give my wife and my kids way more than just my last name. So, that’s important to me. We’ve got a song called Being Lonely When You’re Not Alone. The hardest part of being lonely is when you’re right next to somebody, yet you feel like you’re a million miles away. That can be in a relationship, it can be when you’ve lost a job or lost a loved one in your life. There are all kinds of stuff we go through, and I want to talk about that and let people know, “Hey, you’re not alone, we all go through this.”
Then we’ve got songs off the old album like Don’t Walk Away, which is a song about a guy whose wife left him. That song we released as a single, and we were getting messages every week like, “That song saved my marriage,” or “That song helped us to work out our problems.” I was going, “Holy cow, I had no idea.” But music speaks to the heart; it speaks to the soul.
What has touring been like?
We travel and play all over Texas. We get up in Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Nashville every now and then, but we love staying in Texas. It’s our kind of folks, it’s our kind of scene, our kind of people, and so we just love to travel and play. We do a ton of corporate events also throughout the year, that help pay the bills, pay for CDs and bus tires.
You seem like a non-stop kind of guy…
Non-stop. I still have a day job. I have a construction company, so I’ve been doing construction for a little over 20 years. I’ve got four kids and a wife, and I’ve got a special-needs daughter, so I’ve got to have insurance. I feel like God called me to be a husband and dad first. I’ve got to take care of those responsibilities first. It’s nothing for me to work 60 hours a week, then work another 30 to 40 hours on the weekend traveling and singing. And, I’ve got all my kids’ games and all their events. I used to coach their teams when they were younger. I would literally leave venues on a Friday night at 2 or 3 in the morning, drive through the night, and straight to the football fields to coach an 8 o’clock football game. But, it’s because, I mean, I love my kids.
So how old are your kids now?
We’re a blended family, so I have two and my wife has two. We have Anna, my daughter, who’s the one with special needs, she’s 17. Troy is my oldest stepson, he’s 16. Cooper – we call him “Mini Cooper” because he’s my boy – he’s 16. Then Tyler is my youngest stepson; he’s 12. So, 17, 16, 16, and 12. That’s almost four teenagers. Yeah. Three in high school and one in junior high. We drink a lot of tequila at my house to keep our sanity.
What are your short-term and long-term goals in the music business?
We’re planning on doing another EP in the spring, and we’ll release it sometime in the summer. We’re calling it a summer six-pack, and it’s going to have six new songs on it. I’m trying to make sure they’re all upbeat and fun to dance to. We love for people to dance. So, when you come to our shows, we don’t want you to just sit there and watch us. That feels weird.
Long-term, I just want to continue to put out authentic, traditional-sounding country music and continue to travel and play. I hope to be relevant and reach audiences of all ages. That’s what I love about country music – it reaches people from birth to death.
Wade is excited about what 2020 will bring. Visit cooperwade.com to check out his tour schedule. If you are a Texas Country Music lover, you can catch Wade and fellow artists on the Rock The Coast“Texas Country at Sea” cruise, April 27 – May 2, departing from Galveston. To learn more, visit rockthecoasttexas.com.