Wandered this far: Local musician releases first album

By: 
Keeley Meier, staff writer

Submitted photo 

Local musician Brady Wrede released his first album in February. The album is titled “Wandered This Far” and features eight tracks.

As he says himself, Brady Wrede wears many hats.

He is a fourth grade teacher at R.F. Pettigrew Elementary School in Sioux Falls, a worship leader at Celebrate Community Church of Brandon, a husband, a musician. The latter, however, has taken off over the last three years. 

Wrede, who began playing guitar when he was 14 years old, released his first album, “Wandered This Far,” just two months ago. 

The album is eight tracks, and Wrede describes it as “empowerment music.” 

“Wandered This Far” came about after Wrede signed on to a record label with Crazy Poet Records. 

“Originally, it was just the one song, and that’s all I was going to do,” Wrede said. 

After signing on to the label, Wrede began working on a full album, for which he wrote all of his own songs. 

“When I first went to the studio, it was just me and my guitar, and I really didn’t know if they were going to become anything else,” Wrede said. 

But, with the help of studio engineer Mark Dahm and other musicians—including his wife, Katie—the album became “a joint process.”

One of the songs on the album that resonates the most with Wrede is called “Always Near” and centers around his wife, Katie, who makes up the other half of their band, CommonGround.

“I wrote that song about when my wife and I were first just dating, she had always wanted to travel abroad,” Wrede said. “At the end of our college careers, she went to Europe for six months, and I did not go. I still had school to finish and was working to save money for school, and I kind of wrote that song while she was gone—as a promise to always be there, that kind of thing. And then, of course, we got married, it all ended up happy.”

“I just love that song,” Wrede continued, “because it brings back sad memories because it was obviously tough not seeing her in person for six months, but it reminds me that if I can get through that, I can get through anything with her.”

Katie played piano and sang on many of the tracks on Wrede’s album. 

“The two of us make a great team,” Katie said. “Since I had just recently gone through the process of releasing an album myself, Brady was able to use some of my experience to help with his album. There is definitely a steep learning curve in this industry and we both have learned a lot.”

Katie says choosing her favorite song off her husband’s album is tough, but she says one of her favorites is “Standing Up.”

“It’s such a raw, exposed song that showcases his vocals beautifully,” she said. “I remember the first time we heard the track and we both looked at each other and said, ‘Woah.’ I get emotional each time I hear it.”

“And of course, his song “One Day in May” because this was the song he sang to me on our wedding day,” Katie added. “It brings me back to that moment over and over again.”

Wrede draws inspiration from life experiences but also from other musical groups, such as Hollow Coves, The Head and the Heart and Wild Rivers. He describes this as “road trip music” and believes his next songs and album will follow down a similar path.

Wrede says he can write songs in as quickly as 30 minutes, but others songs have been in the works for weeks or longer. 

“I’m challenging myself to write more poetic lyrics because I wrote a lot of those songs [on the album] five, six, seven years ago,” Wrede said. “A lot of the songs I’m writing now have different messages I’m trying to convey, but it’s usually always focused around one event or one idea that just builds off that.”

One of his lyrics, though, is the idea behind the album’s title.

“I have a song on the album called ‘Wanderer’ and the last line of that song is, ‘Just remember we’ve all wandered this far,’” Wrede said. “I just feel like that’s our life’s story always—we feel like we know where we’re going and what we’re doing, but ultimately, we’re just wandering.”

For Wrede, music runs deep in his blood.

With family connections like Donna Chapel, Don Chapel and the Sunshine Sisters, Wrede knows he has big shoes to fill.

“I’m kind of just trying to carry that legacy on in my own way because I’m not a country artist,” Wrede said. “I don’t really know what kind of artist I am—I just write songs, and they sound how they sound.”

No matter what kind of artist Wrede has become, he has started to gain traction with the local music scene as he performed at Severance Brewing in Sioux Falls on Friday and has about a dozen shows booked for his and his wife’s band, CommonGround, this summer. 

These shows, of course, will happen after school is out for the year. While Wrede has a deep passion for music, he says he’s not ready to let go of teaching just yet.

“I’m not ready to quit my full-time job and dive into it quite yet,” Wrede said. 

However, Wrede says he tries to incorporate music into his teaching as much as he can.

“I’ll sometimes write a really cheesy song that has to do with what we’re learning, and it’s always fun when I get to show the kids those,” Wrede said. “And, since I’ve been recording, I’ve really been including them in that process, so I’ll show them my songs along the way or if I post a YouTube video, I’ll pull that up and we’ll watch it together. The kids think that’s really cool—seeing their teacher, as they say, ‘famous.’”

When Wrede isn’t teaching or recording, well, he’s still focused on his music. 

“For me, when I have my free time, I just want to pick up my guitar or I just want to make a lyric video for my music,” Wrede said. “To me, that’s fun; that’s not a job to me.”

He also spends time teaching himself recording techniques with his home equipment so he doesn’t have to rely solely on a recording studio. Along with that, Wrede is trying to book more solo gigs and spread awareness of his new album. 

“Wandered This Far” can be found on any music-streaming service.

“I always say, ‘Everywhere.’ I don’t know of a place it’s not,” Wrede said. 

Those wanting to purchase a physical copy of the album can visit his website, bradywrede.com.

For Wrede, releasing music comes down to time spent creating the music.

“The one thing I think people don’t realize is making music—first of all, writing a song and then recording it—takes so much time,” Wrede said. “And not just for me—I mean, I put hours in, but the people at the studio I worked with, some of the musicians who played instruments on my album, they put in tons of hours to get the music to where it is. You don’t have to like it, just at least give it a listen because there are a good 200 to 300 hours into making that album for a three-minute song. As a musician, I just appreciate the people who take the time just to check it out.”

 

 

 

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