Material: Three years ago Kota Wade survived 13 episodes on season 9 of NBC’s The Voice. But perhaps the most crucial battle of Wade’s life has been her ongoing struggle to maintain mental health and she has confronted that fact on Out of the Dark, her new pop-rock LP that is the artistic affirmation of her inner struggle with depression and anxiety. The pop-punk/ emo song “Going Mad” highlights that notion perfectly with the lyrics: “I’m betrayed by my body, betrayed by my mind and I am looking for an answer I may never find, while I go crazy…”
Musicianship: This trio's sound fuses music inspired by fairy tales and fantasy films with guitar melodies that were very prominent in the emo genre during the 2000’s. On stage, Wade plays with guitarist-husband Tommy Oleksyn and bassist Lachlan Franckx, two musicians who have been prevalent in the gothic metal/gothic rock scene for many years. Their playing styles evoke an overall sound comparable to some of the music featured on In Love and Death by The Used (an album released in 2004) and the Twilight Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (a movie score released in 2008).
Performance: Dressed in her signature goth-rock attire, Wade worked every inch of the stage, as if she were a young Lacey Sturm from Flyleaf. In front of a capacity crowd, her songs tethered the feelings of helpless with the reinvigorating spirit of hope. When the songstress sang the alternative pop song called “Lifeline,” the emotional content underlined a dense sentiment about the conflict within her psychological state.
Summary: Kota Wade performed six songs under dim stage-lighting while her audience was covered in darkness. That imagery fit well with the narrative of her album’s subject matter. Her performance was just as bold as her willingness to publicize her fears and insecurities. At the age of 26, the career of this former reality TV star has already come full circle. Pop-punk singers Avril Lavigne and Hayley Williams were nearly the same age when they began to experiment and collaborate with musicians from other genres. Hence, if Wade’s new pop-rock album does not achieve the level of success she anticipates, she may consider taking a similar route.