Kaitie Wade, Class of 2012: High School Choir to Country Music Artist
When Kaitie Wade graduated from Cascade Christian High School in 2012, she wasn't planning on pursuing a full-time music career. “I thought I would attend Azusa Pacific and study psychology,” explains Kaitie, “but God had a different plan for me.” Instead, Kaitie auditioned and was accepted at Belmont University, a Christian college in Nashville, Tennessee.
Kaitie discovered Belmont University from a YouTube video posted by the Belmont University choir, called “Company.” She was researching songs for the Cascade Christian High School jazz choir, Shades of Blue. “I was thinking, what about this song? What’s this group? They sound awesome!” says Kaitie. In addition to singing in the jazz choir, Kaitie also sang for Cascade Christian’s worship team. “Singing with the worship team was a huge part of why I later decided to pursue a music career,” says Kaitie. “If I can glorify God with Christian music, I can also glorify Him with my own music. I write songs and sing so people will be uplifted. I want them to feel like they know me and are friends with me.”
While at Belmont University, Kaitie mostly studied performance for the first three years. “It wasn’t like a normal college life, I had twelve classes a semester, and I was doing a lot of zero-credit classes (another twelve per semester), which shaped me into a better time management person. That experience prepared me for this crazy life I’m living now. We started with six hundred people in my grade and ended with eighty-six. The whole point of the program is to pressure you. They want you to be ready. Looking back, I’m grateful for it. The piano and classical voice training helped shape my voice into what it is today.”
Making it Happen
Looking back on the last few years, Kaitie recalls not knowing where “C” was on the piano until her training and musical education at Belmont University. “I got a guitar back in 9th grade,” says Kaitie. “I only knew one song; it was “Crazier” by Taylor Swift. For the longest time, that was the only song I knew how to play on the guitar. I did my first open-mic ever, my senior year of college. I did so bad, and my guitar was all over the place. I thought, I’m never playing guitar again. I stopped playing it for awhile, but then realized I could save a lot of money by not hiring guitar players for every show. So I started learning new songs. I wanted to be better at getting gigs.”
In the past year, Kaitie has learned about fifty songs on the guitar and one hundred eighty singing songs in order to perform on Broadway in Nashville. “Broadway,” explains Kaitie, “is a main strip that has thirty-four bars. Each bar has three floors and they all have live music.
“From the outside looking in, I thought it looked so awesome,” says Kaitie. “But when I got in, it ended up not being for me. It didn’t feel right. I would ask myself, ‘Why am I singing in a bar? It’s not me.’ I always kept it classy, but in this business, you’re just asking to be taken advantage of and looked at the wrong way for doing that kind of work. It was a big moral lesson. I did it for four months and learned a lot. It wasn’t for me, and I wasn’t treated that well. Many people made false promises, like ‘you’re going to be the next Dolly Parton’.”
False promises haven’t deterred Kaitie. She’s extremely busy, with very little downtime. This summer, she flew from Nashville to Washington to perform as the opening act for rising country music star, Russell Dickerson, at the Steel Creek Bar in Tacoma. “I got the gig because I gave Steel Creek my CD. The manager said he hadn’t listened to the CD yet, but had been following me on social media and watched my music videos posted on my YouTube channel. He had faith in me. It was exciting!”
“I’ve never opened for anyone” explains Kaitie, “and I’m always nervous before performing. My voice sounded so loud during the soundcheck. I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, this is weird. I can’t believe I’m here.’ Luckily, after one song, I knew it was going to be ok.
“The warmth and welcoming from my home town was incredible. It was a top moment….besides my engagement,” smiles Kaitie. “I’ve never seen anything like it. There were seven hundred wristbands given out that evening. It was the largest crowd where I’ve played my own music. Last year, I knew two songs on the guitar. Now I can pull off three-hour shows. It’s practice, prayer, and patience.
New CD and Radio Tour
Not long after performing with Russell Dickerson, Kaitie packed up her life in Nashville to move to her hometown in Washington state and complete a cross-country radio tour with her fiancé, Jordan Johansen. The couple drove through thirteen states in six days, promoting the self-debut CD that Kaitie co-wrote and released in April 2017, entitled Starts With a Song. “It was tough raising money for lodging, gas and food while on the tour, but God pulled me through. I ran an IndieGoGo online campaign to raise money. Every dollar helped.”
“The radio tour was an amazing, crazy, and tiring time,” says Kaitie. “My career is 90% promotion and 10% singing. I’m my own publicist and manage my website www.kwademusic.com, social media manager, and booking agent.”
“I co-wrote all the lyrics and music for the five songs on Starts with a Song with other artists. You need two brains to get a good song. I couldn’t have done it alone. It was really fun and the songs are the perfect indicator of who I am right now. The first four songs I wrote right away, but I felt like something was missing and I was leaving out a part of myself. I want the CD to be how people can get to know me. This is Kaitie Wade. We’re friends now.”
Kaitie wrote the fifth track, Starts with a Song, because of her experience singing on Music Row in Nashville. “The first person I job-shadowed while singing on Broadway said to me, ‘In order to get tips around here, you’re gonna have to do all this stuff.’ And I was like, no way. I am keeping my class. I’m not showing anything. I refuse to do that. My lack of compromising sets me apart. A lot of radio stations I interviewed with, say I’m humble and not a diva. I say, you should hear me in the morning!”
The last song Kaitie wrote for the CD is Diamonds. “It’s about battling depression and anxiety. It is something I’ve struggled with forever,” explains Kaitie. “Leaving that out wouldn’t be right, and I feel like I can influence so many people in a positive way by putting that song in there. It was the hardest song to write, because I had to get to a vulnerable place. But that’s how you get the good songs out. The whole point of the song is about not giving up. You don’t know how close you are to hitting the diamonds. You could be two seconds away from making it and have wasted all your time preparing. That’s what keeps me going and why I wrote the song. It’s encouraging.”
Kaitie wrote the track, Don’t Wanna Miss, while in sitting in her car at a Walmart parking lot. “I had inspiration and starting recording into my phone. I realized I was writing a song describing the Watershed Music Festival. It’s a three-day tailgate with many favorite country music artists. It’s a beautiful venue near the Columbia River Gorge in Washington state. It’s that feel-good feeling when you’re at a festival. You feel alive. I take that and transcribe it in a way that other people can feel the festival through my music and lyrics.”
Kaitie now performs around Washington state at local venues. She was invited to sing at the Washington State Fair in September 2017. As an alumna of Cascade Christian High School, Kaitie performed a solo version of the national anthem in October at the Homecoming football game half-time. Later that month, she performed a few songs at Cascade Christian High School’s chapel and discussed her struggles with anxiety and depression. “I wanted to share my story and talk about hope, because many high school students struggle with anxiety and depression.”
Kaitie is excited to be pursuing her music career as well as planning her September 2018 wedding to fiancé, Jordan Johansen. “As far as my musical career goes, the goal is to be touring and earning enough so Jordan can tour with me. My goal isn’t to be famous. My life is actually extremely hard. Social media makes me look like it’s all smooth, but it’s a bumpy ride. The ultimate goal is to make enough doing what I love and encouraging people with my music.”
Dylan Rice, CCHS Class of 2008
|Jonathon Felczak, Class of 2010
This past January (2012), CCHS grad Jonathan Felczak (Class of 2010) attended and finished in the top of his class at the Wendelstedt Professional Umpire School (Ormond Beach, FL). In doing so , he received a rare recommendation to the Professional Baseball Umpire Corporation’s (PBUC) Evaluation Course. Jonathan’s efforts at the PBUC earned him his first assignment as a professional, in the Arizona Rookie League for the summer of 2012. During the off-season, Jonathan works as a Sales Associate for Whistle Workwear in Tacoma and Puyallup. As well, he is honing his umpiring skills by working with the local Western Washington Umpires Association. Jonathan anticipates a 2013 assignment to the Northwest League (Short-season Class “A” Ball), where he would be calling games close to home in Everett, Yakima or Spokane. PLAY BALL !!
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