“American Idol” alum Wade Cota doesn’t shy away from his troubled childhood in the Valley.
His new album, “Big Feet, Baby Steps,” which debuted Top 20 on iTunes Top 100 Pop Albums Chart, isn’t any different. It tells a story of hope and escape.
“The album is a passion project,” Cota says. “I wanted my first album to tell a story. If you listen front to back, it’s a book. Every song connects to the next.
“I had a very, very rough childhood. I was never on the lucky side of anything. I was always striving for love, for acceptance and that’s what the album is really about—the ups and downs of finding love when your life is not too great.”
The first single “Driver’s Side” trucks along on a crunchy distorted groove, wild guitar leads, and his unmistakable bellow. Lyrically, he paints a vivid picture of escape.
Cota is hesitant to describe his music past that. He calls his music a blend of John Legend and the Foo Fighters. There’s really no way of describing it accurately, though.
“People see art different ways,” he says. “Putting myself into a regular genre—rock or pop or whatever—is difficult. It’s soulful music, There are some screams in there. There’s anger, a driving beat and rock ‘n’ roll.
“I don’t think you can put us into a genre, which makes it a little tough to sell to the labels. I don’t care about that. I care about getting my vision and mission across. I’m an artist when it comes down to it and you can’t put a guideline on it. Art is art.”
He does, however, chalk up his raspy voice to his years in a metal band.
“People say, ‘If you could take it all band, would you not do metal?’ Absolutely not. I’m here because of the things I’ve done and experienced. I’m perfectly happy with how my voice sounds. Regardless of how I got there, it’s supposed to be like that.”
Produced with JJ Corry Rossi, “Big Feet, Baby Steps” features seven original songs. From the vulnerable confessions of “Remedy,” to the lull of clean guitars bleeding through a thick beat on “Stay,” Cota delivers a poignant message.
“A therapist will say if you’re going through something bad, get it out on paper, then put it away,” Cota says. “Don’t ever send it or show it to anyone. I’ll help your mind. That’s how I approach my music. I write it down, but instead of writing intimate journals for myself to keep, I write them to the nation or to the world.”
Cota admits his management team, headed up by Brad Patrick, wanted him to wait until the coronavirus crisis subsided a bit before he released his album. Cota was anxious to share it with the public.
“My fight with him was that people are sitting at home, not doing anything anyway,” he says. “There’s no better time to release a digital album. People need to be entertained right now. I could have pushed it back and had a big, huge release. I could still do that when we get the physical copies.”
Cota has never been one to stop. The minute he was eliminated from “American Idol,” he and his family members were in touch with media to spread the word that he’s a viable artist.
“You have to—if you don’t keep yourself relevant, you disappear,” he says. “With the TV show, the second that next season starts, people forget about you. I found a manager in Brad Patrick who really, really cares about me.”
That’s all he’s ever wanted.
“My music talks about all the struggles, the pain and the triumphs. I want to give hope and give someone a kind of release,” Cota says. “I want to reach people. I don’t want to be the same generic artist. All country artists sing about boats or trucks. I don’t want to be like that. I want people to say, ‘Holy crap. I’ve never seen that before.’”