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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

Sontag musician preparing to release fourth CD
‘Trakz’ Wade plays nine instruments
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Courtesy Photo: James “Trakz” Wade Jr. hopes to “show a different side to the Franklin County music scene” with his eclectic musical style.

Friday, March 14, 2014


Franklin County native James Wade Jr., also known as "Trakz," is pursuing his dream of becoming a career musician and vocalist.

"Music has always been in the background throughout my life in some form or another," he said.

Wade, 29, of Sontag graduated from Franklin County High School in 2002 and earned an associate degree in liberal arts (foreign language) from Virginia Western Community College. He also attended University of Maryland while living in Baltimore for a short time.

Before devoting his time to a music career, Wade focused on school and worked a lot.

"I've been singing since I was a kid pretty much, but I didn't really start putting serious effort into it until I was in my early 20s," he said.

Born into a musical family, Wade remembers his late grandfather James T. Wade inspiring him to nurse his musical talent.

"He always used to sing and play his acoustic guitar when I was little, encouraging me to practice," said Wade. "That's when I first started to learn to play the guitar."

Now, Wade plays nine instruments -- guitar, piano, bass, drums, organ, harmonica, harp, accordion and violin.

"I was given the nickname Trakz because I play so many instruments and am able to make music so fast," he said. "The only thing I seem to have trouble learning is the brass instruments."

Wade has played instruments since the age of 11 without reading music.

"Playing by ear runs in my family," he said. "But I would love to eventually learn to read music."

Wade began playing with a Christian Alternative Rock group, called "Zion," as a teenager.

"I was 15 at the time," Wade said. "We did shows across Virginia and North Carolina. It was a lot of fun."

Wade was 19 when he began playing with his next group, "Amistad Latina," a Mexican band. The experience taught him to play the accordion.

"I've played in dozens of churches and small events over the years as well," he said. "I recently played for WSLS (TV), which was amazing."

In January 2013, Wade released his first album, "4ever February," and followed up with the release of "M.O.A.W." in October.

"'4ever February,' I think, was the most popular and meaningful for my fans," Wade said. "It's been my best selling album so far."

Written after a bad breakup, "4ever February" was Wade's way of dealing with the pain, he said.

"Sometimes music is the best form of therapy you can receive," he said.

Wade's most recent album, "Love Notes: Vol. 1," was released Feb. 11, just in time for Valentine's Day.

Each CD is $9.99 with songs available 99 cents on iTunes. They are also available on

"The album that my manager and I will be pushing the hardest is my upcoming album, 'Enter Gemini,' which will be available in June," Wade said. "It's sort of my masterpiece. I've worked on that for a year now, so there's been a lot of hard work and long nights behind it."

He is also working with Lynchburg rapper, Lace, on an R&B/Hip-Hop album, called "Duality."

"All of my music is autobiographical, which is why I think so many people enjoy it," he said. "They can relate to the things I sing about, whether it be love, heartbreak, happiness or sadness. That's what means the most to me -- knowing my music makes people feel something, knowing my music can be related to, no matter what  music preference a person might have."

During Christmas, Wade performed around Virginia and at the Elephant Walk New Year's Eve show in Roanoke. But it's rare for him to perform locally.

"I have quite a few shows coming up, but most of them are out of town," said Wade. "There really isn't much of a market for urban R&B music around this area. Franklin County is primarily known for moonshine and great country and bluegrass music, but I look forward to adding to that list and showing that there is another side to the Franklin County music scene."

Wade's manager, Phil Wright of Next Level Management, is working on an opening act for him later this year at the Henry Street Festival in Downtown Roanoke.

Wade said he is a fan of all types of music genres.

"I listen to everything from classical to country and anything in between," he said. "Growing up, I listened to Prince, Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson. As I got older, I started getting into the Beatles and more band-based music. You can't be a talented musician if you limit yourself to one genre."

And a successful musician is what he is determined to become.

"The last thing my mother told me before she died was how proud she was of me," Wade said. "She told me to pursue my music career to make her proud."

His mother suffered from lupus and was sick most of her life, he said.

"I left college to come back and take care of my mother," said Wade, who cared for her until her death in March 2013.

"She was my best friend, to say the least, and the most kind woman you could ever meet. I'm very blessed that I got to spend the time with her that I did. I miss her everyday."

Once he is an established artist, Wade plans to start a charity for people with lupus.

"I think that would be a very special way to honor my mother's memory," he said.

Wade's father, James Roger Wade Sr., still lives in Sontag. He also has two half-sisters, Tenesha Dudley and Jeana Wright-Aaron.

"I'm very proud of my country roots," he said. "I'm not a city person. I know that I will be doing a lot of traveling around the country performing, so I'm looking forward to that. But I know I will always have a home in Franklin County that I can come back to when I need to get away from it all."

"He is one of the most talented individuals I have ever met," said Wright. "He is truly a unique talent who has been hidden too long. It's been amazing to see his career begin to flourish in such a great way. I have no doubts that he will make his hometown extremely proud."

To learn more about Wade, his music or upcoming events, visit his music page at Also, visit or

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