Passion play

Mel Wade

“Love, pain … they can inspire beautiful music,” says  songwriter Mel Wade.

“Love, pain … they can inspire beautiful music,” says songwriter Mel Wade.

Photo By brad bynum

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Musician Mel Wade credits her older brother, Rob Wade, for helping her discover her calling in music. He gave her first guitar when she was 18. She says his music style has been a big influence on her rootsy soul and bluesy folk sound.

“His writing style is very much what inspires me with music in general,” Wade says. She sings, writes songs, and plays guitar.

Wade writes most of her own music, based partly on her own experiences and also on the experiences of others—some real, some make-believe. She also co-writes with her brother, and her album, released in 2009, features some songs written solely by him—and used with his permission, of course.

So what inspires the songstress? “Love, pain,” she says. “They can inspire beautiful music and that’s what I try to do. … Lyrics are really important to me.”

One of her crowd favorites, “Penny Song,” is all about the lyrics, a play on words about change—both coins and in the sense of transition.

Though Wade is known around town for her acoustic sound on the guitar, she says one of her goals for 2013 involves bringing piano back into her music more. She says she will bring a keyboard to live shows and embrace the first musical instrument she learned at the age of 6.

Admittedly more accomplished on the piano than guitar, Wade says many people don’t even know she plays it, but her goal is to become more comfortable playing keys and singing at the same time, enabling her to embrace her first musical love.

“I grew up playing piano but never envisioned anything greater than that,” she says. The singer/songwriter plans to release an EP later this year, hopefully in the next few months. She says she hopes the EP will allow people to hear her new sound, since she feels she has grown musically since her album was released.

Aside from her family, Wade says she owes at least some of her success to the musicians around her who have helped her get gigs and progress musically. Originally from Boise, she says both Idaho and Nevada offer musical communities that feel like family, where people help each other instead of compete against one another.

Wade hopes people get something from her music, though she’s not entirely sure what that is.

“I hope to inspire people,” she says. “I want people to feel good inside. I want them to be able to connect. I want people to be able to take something from it … for them to take away something that has opened up inside of them.”

Wade really enjoys it when people tell her they love how her music made them feel.

Wade exudes passion even when just talking about her music.

“I truly feel like I have something very inspiring to hear,” she says. “I want people to experience the passion that I have for what I do in my music and hope to inspire them to follow whatever their passion might be.”

The part-time café worker, who also plays drums, has a monthly show at Midtown Wine Bar, a place she describes as “small and quaint.” She credits the bar with being her favorite place to play in part because of the warm and welcoming patrons and owners. Additionally, Wade has been known to play other local hot spots like Cantina, The Grape & The Grain and Java Jungle.