Cross Rhythms tracks down artists who've been quiet of late. This issue Lloyd Wade tells us what's been happening with THE WADES.
Derek, David and Lloyd Wade have long been a gospel music institution in the UK. The group have in many ways proven to be a British version of The Winans and have pioneered gospel's move into R& B. Recording-wise they have hardly been prolific. Despite major critical acclaim 'A Touch Of Heaven' (1995), 'The Feel Good Factor' (1999) and 'A Family Thing' (2001) have been their only albums. Recently even their blistering live appearances (who can forget their stunning performance at Wembley Stadium in 1997?) seem to have ground to a halt. Cross Rhythms tracked down Lloyd Wade to find out what's been happening with the group.
"Following the illness and death of our father (Aubrey Wade) we are currently working on new material for a release in the autumn of 2004. We have resumed taking on bookings for events and are at present in the process of rehearsing a compilation of most requested songs from all previous albums to add to new material for live performances at events. We are now taking bookings and have already begun performing in church and other events. We have performed at The Bright Lights Festival at London Colney early in July where we did main stage and performed to some 500 young people.
"We have a new band of great musicians and are enjoying working on our stuff with a 'live feel'! It gives such a good vibe and it allows scope to capitalise on those special moments in a gig when there's a 'real sense of God's presence' where we just burst into unrehearsed spontaneous singing. It certainly keeps the band on their toes and it generates such an awesome vibe!"
Although they have been focusing on family these past two years and have been absent from the main Christian music scene, The Wades have noted the emergence of the new wave of R& B/ urban gospel acts in the UK. "More and more groups seem to be able to finance their own projects and are putting out great pieces of work with good production and excellent writing. There does however seem to be a need for more British distribution companies as the ones currently out there can only do so much. Because there is a renaissance happening in terms of the wide appeal Christian music is enjoying, the high standard of music being produced needs to be reflected by the number of British albums actually getting into the shops. Instead we are seeing groups financing their own productions but many are finding themselves at a loose end with distribution. The irony is that the Church on a whole has the finances that can ensure that Christian music is promoted in both Christian and secular arenas. If our ethos is to reach God's thirsty world with the Gospel then there needs to be a shift in emphasis in terms of funding. For example; we have heard how some churches are able to spend millions on cosmetics. If some of that money was used to finance the many Christian groups who are sacrificing their time and money to produce and distribute life changing music, then not only would these artists be able to produce even better quality material but the message of the Gospel will really begin to make inroads in the wider music scene. The increase in appearance of Christian artists and musicians such as Delirious? and Daniel Bedingfield on the mainstream music scene is proof that a concerted effort of investment on the part of the Church would help to place Christian artists and musicians in strategic key areas where good Christian principles are so badly needed.
"As a group we sometimes wonder why there is so much talk about the The Wades hanging up their mics and calling it a day. All along our career we have had periods where we have not been in the public eye. It was the same before we released our MOBO nominated album 'A Family Thing'. People were writing us off saying that The Wades were through, because it was a two year gap between 'The Feel Good Factor' and 'A Family Thing, ' but we were confident in the fact that sometimes good wine takes a bit of time to mature and we knew that 'A Family Thing' would do well so we weren't too rushed to put it out until we were happy with it.
"It's been about the same time now between 'A Family Thing' and The Wades coming back on the scene and although we will never be over the sad loss of our dad, we feel that there is still anointing upon us to continue brining God's love and good news to the world with our own unique way of great toe-tapping beats, close harmonies, memorable melodies and lyrics a la 'The Wades'. Besides, dad would have wanted his "boys" to continue doin' what we do best! "SING, GUYS, SING!"The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.