Thomas Wade We All Fall Down

Thomas Wade Cashbox Cover.jpg

Submitted by Don Graham

In the early nineties, Thomas Wade was on a path that was sure to lead him to superstar status. He was the poster boy for CMT Canada’s videos with songs like “Zero To Sixty” and “Lying Here With You.” He was the total package, A-Number one, top of the heap, cream of the crop. He had the songs, the look, the charisma and screen presence to go all the way. He was the whole package. And he got there! Well, almost got there. He was well on his way when a cruel plot twist changed the story.

The kid from a musical family in Burford, Ontario spent a good part of the 80’s touring across Canada in various bands and in 1985 he signed  a management contract with Pride Music in Nashville, Tennessee, where he learned from some of the best in the business. There was hit songwriter Bill Shore, George Strait’s “In The Steal of the Night” and Grammy award winning producer, Byron Gallimore who gained fame with Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. In the early 1990s he formed his band, Thomas Wade and Wayward, and auditioned for the Cindy Tanas acting studio. For the next few years he led a double life as a budding actor and a recording artist. This was the beginning years of CMT Canada and Thomas Wade was the perfect video artist. Again, the whole package. Little did he know that he would go from “zero to sixty” to “sixty to zero” in a short time.

To  recap, before the life changing event in the  Thomas Wade saga,  he had three Juno nominations, seven CCMA awards, three albums which he wrote and produced, twelve top 20 singles and numerous videos including his #1 video, “Lyin' Here With You”. He had been touring as a headliner for seven years, being the creative center, lead singer and frontman of Thomas Wade and Wayward. He had even been the voice for a Lotto 649 "Just Imagine" ad campaign.

And then ‘it’ happened, In November 2002 Wade hit the wall with a health problem that left  him unable to sing, followed by, an inability to speak. After countless doctors, experts and even a faith healer he was diagnosed with Oromandibular Dystonia which was thought to be an incurable neurological disorder. It was 2006.

Thomas Wade at the HorseshoeThomas Wade at the HorseshoeBacktracking it was a New Years Eve gig in western Canada, he had found “tricks” as he put it, to sing,  when Wade first encountered his problem. “New Years Eve  December 2002 at a gig in Yorkton Saskatchewan I noticed  a strange sound, like the listing of a sail began when I tried to sing. I spent time and money on vocal coaches, naturopaths, energy healers, acupuncturists, and even a Brazilian faith healer to try to get my voice back but by the end of 2002 I knew I had to retire…it was too stressful to try to do shows, and people weren't getting the real me so I couldn't continue. Then I began to try to find work as a producer, after all, I had produced my own records and had writing skills to bring to the table. Still being known as a singer, few people were willing to hire me as a producer. I also worked harder at writing and playing guitar in order to keep working. By 2003 I was noticing that it was hard to pronounce certain vowels, and my "L’s" were getting sluggish. By 2004 I was unable to order a coffee without great difficulty. Then I discovered that if I chewed gum I could speak normally although it didn't help my singing at all. If I happened to run out of gum…I was out of luck…I could barely speak. In 2005 I went to see Dr. John Chong of the musician's clinic, and he was very concerned with my condition. He fast tracked me and got me all the tests I needed. On my birthday, May 9th 2006 I was diagnosed with Oromandibular Dystonia. And it was said to be incurable. Eventually the gum trick went away and by 2008 I could speak albeit very hard to understand…very much like a person who had suffered a stroke. Soon after I began to have a tremor in my left hand and by 2009 my speech was getting so bad I was about to learn sign language because it didn't seem likely I would have any other way to communicate. If things had continued that way I don't know if I would've survived. I had been stubborn enough and unwilling to give up till then, but it was hard to imagine myself in a world where I couldn't sing, speak or play guitar. In late 2009 I heard Dr. Norman Doidge speaking on CBC about a book he had written called "The brain that changes itself" about a brand new approach to neurological diseases called "Neuro-Plasticity"  I immediately found the book and although it didn't really tell me how I could do it, it showed me there was real hope. In late 2009 my wife Denise and I met and became friends with Sanjay Burman. He is the owner/founder of Burman books. One night during a conversation he said he thought he might be able to help me. He was also, we discovered, a hypnotist. I was very skeptical, but willing to try anything. After one session I noticed a difference. After two even more. I then began to read everything I could about the brain and the mind/body/spirit connection. I began to formulate my own "neuro-plastic" exercises to fully regain my speech. I discovered something I call "vivialization" which is based on the way the brain wires itself. It was around this time I felt I had to tell this story, to spread the word that we don't have to give up. I thought that telling my own healing story might make all of it worth something. I also became a certified hypnotist myself and began to work with others. I feel that the best way to tell this story is via a documentary. The title we have landed with is "We All Fall Down" the title of a song I wrote with Tim Taylor at the beginning of this journey.”

And so here we are in 2014 and rejuvenated Thomas Wade is primed and ready to get back into the spotlight he deserves. He has solo gigs lined up “I have my first show as a co-headliner on Feb. 22nd with Tim Louis in Kitchener and on Feb 26th I will be a special guest at a songwriter round at the Cadillac Lounge in Toronto.”

The big focus is getting his documentary for “We All Fall Down “ completed and it’s going to be costly so various fund raising ideas are being tossed around. He has set up an  Indiegogo campaign  and maybe the most exciting part, a tour across the country to raise funds and awareness about this “incurable” disease that Thomas Wade is conquering.

Interestingly enough Thomas Wade equates a lot of life to the sweet science of boxing. “Life is lot like boxing. We get knocked down, we get back up. And it ain't over til it's over. You got to keep answering the bell.  We need to be on the offensive but all the while being defensive and protecting ourselves.” The lyric of the song he wrote with Nashville writer and fellow Canadian Tim Taylor for the song “We All Fall Down” includes “we all fall down but get back up again” just like in the ring.  Tim Taylor echoes the sentiments of all of Thomas Wade’s friends and musical contemporaries “I have always admired and respected Thomas Wade as an artist and a friend. To watch him endure and overcome the tragedy of a great singer losing his voice has been a true inspiration.”

Thomas Wade’s life now is filled with hope and promise. He’s actively singing, writing and recording again, working on producing “I’m almost done a new album with a phenomenal young girl named Mimi O’Bonsawin from the  from the Anbenki First Nation. I can’t wait for you all to hear her!” He’s shooting music videos, just completed a couple for up and coming country star Billy J. White. He’s a hypnotist and lecturer, on the panel at the Performing Arts Medical Association on February 8th and 9th in Toronto, to speak about his experience in trying to overcome dystonia. And he’s focused on his documentary on dystonia; working title “We All Fall Down” working with dedicated director Brian Wayne White and raising the funds to make it a reality. An Indiegogo has been set up at igg.me/at/thomas-wade-documentary.

Thomas Wade is living, breathing, walking, singing proof that although we all fall down, we all get back up again.

For more on Thomas Wade https://www.facebook.com/thomas.wade.562?fref=ts

Indiegogo link:   http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/we-all-fall-down