At 20, nonbinary artist Wade in the Sonic Joy moved from Connecticut to Houston to live with a former partner.
Following a breakup, Wade moved in with a family member in Houston, but was later kicked out for being queer. Wade, who uses the pronouns they/them/theirs, now lives alone in Uptown, and works as a singer-songwriter, producer, model, and journalist.
“Those experiences were lessons,” Wade, 26, says. “They taught me to trust no one but myself.”
Wade’s self-sufficiency is channeled in Sexspells, a darkwave-meets-synthpop album set for release Dec. 20. National artists Joey Sprinkles and Teach Me Equals will appear at a preview show for Wade’s debut record on Dec. 16 at Notsuoh.
“Sexspells is about taking back power,” Wade says. “The songs on my album tell relatable stories about heartbreak, loneliness, mental health, and how to gain your confidence back from things that once controlled you.”
Wade created Sexspells over the span of three years in collaboration with producers Attila Mosley, Kirby Brister, and Ondi, and sound engineer Carter Smith. The ten-track album features Wade’s latest single, Afterthot, a song about downplaying one’s antagonist as “just that ho over there.”
The title of Sexpells was chosen to encompass its two entities––sex and paganism. Each track on the album has sexual undertones, and the word “sex” is used to symbolize emotions such as vulnerability, sensitivity, anger, loneliness, and confidence.
To create their sound, Wade, a pagan, combines electronic synths and beats with lyrics sung in the way that a witch might recite a charm.
“I call it witch pop,” Wade says. “My songs have an incantation vibe. I want to sound like I am reading out of a book of spells, invoking something brooding and tender.”
Wade says being a nonbinary musician allows them to reach a broad scope of listeners because their songs are not gendered, but rather sung from a person who is domineering.
Some of Wade’s visuals, which can be seen on their Instagram, are inspired by popular figures who are gender-nonconforming, such as David Bowie, Tilda Swinton, and Sailor Uranus.
“I enjoy having a neutral appearance,” Wade says. “Embracing both my masculine and feminine qualities allows me to write from different points of view. This makes my music relatable to everyone.”
Wade’s December 16 show begins at 9 p.m. Their album will be available on streaming services.
For more information about Wade in the Sonic Joy, go to wadeinthesonicjoy.com.