Hi Guys, check out this interview with wade johnston.
Wade is a young singer/songwriter, guitarist, one of the very many that have really benefited from youtube.
After creating his youtube channel in summer 2008, posting original songs and covers he was able to reach a large audience, creating a fanbase online and performing in various events and concerts.
One cover that got him noticed was Julia Nunes’ song, “Regrets.” the video response ended up catching Nunes’s attention. Soon after, in October, Wade was invited to perform at her side at the first ever YouTube Live in San Francisco, CA.
He is also in a band called Wade Johnston and the Navigators
Hi Wade, How are you doing?
Staying busy…very busy.
So quickly give us some background information about you?
Well, I’m a 20-year-old singer/songwriter from Cincinnati, Ohio. I like to make music—I make videos on YouTube, and I’m the front man of my band “Wade Johnston & The Navigators.” On the side (ha), I’m a full-time Urban Planning student at the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning at the University of Cincinnati and I have a job.
How did you get into music?
I’ve grown up in a fairly musical family –I started off singing in a chorus at 9, played piano from about 11-13, and ended up choosing guitar around age 14. I began to experiment with writing music/lyrics soon after, and I’ve loved doing it ever since.
What is your favourite aspect of your own playing style?
I’m a sucker for harmony-driven music. More importantly, I love my band’s unique setup with me singing and playing guitar/ukulele accompanied by two other voices, steady hand percussion, and rocking electric bass.
What are you doing at this moment to keep things fresh for you and your audiences?
My band and I just released our first EP, so I’m transitioning back to song writing mode so I can get some new videos posted to YouTube this summer.
What has been your most memorable experience so far?
That’s a really tough question because YouTube has presented me with so many rewarding experiences. YouTube LIVE! was an amazing event, but I’ve also had some other unreal opportunities to travel and play over the past 2 years. Not to mention I’ve been fortunate enough to collaborate with some of YouTube’s finest, including Pomplamoose, Julia Nunes, and Danielle Ate The Sandwich. However, when I’m sixty, I think that having 20,000 fans across the world that enjoyed listening to my music will be the most memorable experience.
If you had to choose one, playing instruments or singing?
Hmm, another toughie. Probably singing. Sometimes I go a week without playing because I get so wrapped up in school and work, but I can’t go a day without singing. Or even an hour…
What has been the most challenging part of your career so far and what did you do to remain focused?
The most challenging part of my music career so far has been balancing my YouTube persona with that of my band. On YouTube, I make most of my videos all by myself, but in life performances I rely on my bandmates to help me create a unique sound. My goal for this summer is to integrate the two in order to allow viewers to get a better idea for my vision as a songwriter.
You keep picking up musical instruments and exceeding in it, which one out of all the instruments you play, is your favourite and why?
Although I love the island-like, upbeat feel of the ukulele, I think guitar is my favorite because 1) I’m better at it, and 2) I think it’s a more versatile instrument to perform with. The ukulele has just four strings and a few octaves to work with, but a guitar has many more options.
Are you looking to pick up another instrument anytime soon?
I’m always looking to pick up new instrument! Actually, I recently just picked up the juice harp. I’m really excited to have my own house next year so I can setup a drum kit and maybe get an upright piano. I’m also interested in learning banjo and mandolin when I can find the time.
Many people who are picking up the ukulele for the first time want to play like you. What advice can you give to aspiring musicians about music and creating their own style?
No matter what other people think, be true to yourself as a musician. If you’re already doing that, all you need to do is post some videos on YouTube and maybe you’ll get lucky like I did! (ha)
What do you think is the most important thing you have practiced, and how has it improved your playing?
Hands down, finger picking (pun intended, ha). Taking the time early in my guitar training to discipline myself has helped me write new songs and made me a more versatile musician overall.
Do you think YouTube and the internet in general has helped you taking your music career to the next level?
Let me put it this way: without YouTube and the internet, no one outside of Cincinnati would know who I am. YouTube and the internet have changed the way people listen to music, and I’m just happy that I was born into the right place at the right time.
What inspires you to learn instruments and make music?
Learning a new instrument is like exploring a new room in some crazy musical mansion. It feeds the indecisive composer in me who is constantly searching for new music. Music is a way for me to make the intangible in my life tangible. I love the feeling of creating something that I’m proud of. It’s almost therapeutic in the sense that it allows me to say what I otherwise might not be able to say with words.
What should be expecting from you in the future?
Lots of new videos, a new CD in the distant future, and maybe some US touring. Your guess is as good as mine for what opportunity YouTube will present for me next.
Thanks for your time Wade