Everyone goes through a phase in their childhood when they want to be a rock star. Whether it be making guitars out of tissue boxes and elastics or singing songs into our EchoMic, we’ve all somehow tried to imagine what it would be like to be on stage in front of thousands of people who are there for one reason: to see us.
Although most of us outgrow this phase and move on to more tangible and mainstream professions, David Rades (born David Radeschi) never gave up on attaining a “rock star” status. At the age of 26, David has already achieved respectable recognition in the music industry. His victories have rarely come easy, but have given him the determination and undying tenacity to see his dream come true.
In true rocker fashion, David takes a seat across from me in the far-corner booth, wearing a simple t-shirt and jeans. Running his fingers through his jet black hair, he laughs, “I hope you brought a pen and paper…or a really good memory.” After some charming small talk, David puts on his serious regard, as he always does when it comes to talking about his career. “Where do I start?” he says, recalling the day music changed his life forever. It all started the first time he heard “Summer of ‘69” by Bryan Adams, an anthem for all the adolescents finding love and music. He was 11 years old at the time when the song sparked his infatuation with Bryan Adams and the guitar in general. “I must have rented ‘Bryan Adams Live’ over 50 times.” he admits.
When David asked for his own guitar, his mother said no, as would any mother of three boys. The last thing they needed was something that intentionally made noise. This led David to find alternate means to owning a guitar. At the age of 13, he had saved up enough money doing odd jobs to buy his first guitar: a Cort Electric. It was black and white, resembling the one Bryan Adams used in his concert. This would be the beginning of David’s life and career in music.
From then on, David took lessons as well as taught himself various techniques and methods of playing. At the age of 17, he began as a guitarist for a local band called “Mainstream” and began to co-write songs with the band. At 18, having discovered his voice, he made his solo debut at the Pompeii Festival as “David Rades.” He was the first ever to perform on the stage that now permanently stands in the park. The following year he performed a 45 minute set on St. Laurent Boulevard for over 7000 people. At this point in his career, he was performing and recording with a band he met at a local bar, as well as working with Joe Segreti of the publishing company “Segpop.” During these years in which he matured as an artist, David earned the tools and connections essential for taking the next step in his music career.
Similar to bands like “Goo Goo Dolls” and “Bon Jovi,” who’s journeys to the top were filled with obstacles and hardships, David’s story is no different. In addition to their lyrical styles and melodies, David finds inspiration in the stories of struggling artists making a name for themselves despite the odds against them. At the age of 9 years old, David was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome. Tourette’s is a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. “Growing up was rough,” David recalls. “but maybe if I didn’t have this I wouldn’t be as strong and persistent.” It goes without saying that while most people would use this as an excuse not to excel in their daily lives, David uses it as an incentive to try harder. To this day there is no cure for Tourette’s Syndrome, however the moment David picks up a guitar and starts to sing, his tics vanish. “My cure is music,” he says.
In 2005, tragedy struck when David suffered a vocal chord injury that left him completely speechless and out of action for almost 3 years. He suffered a rare case of stomach acid in his sleep that irritated his esophagus and trachea, and caused blisters and swelling in his vocal chords. This led him to spend a month barely speaking or eating. The doctors told him he would be lucky if he ever spoke again. During this time, David’s girlfriend of 4 years also decided to call it quits. He decided to put away all his guitars and pack away his musical career, not knowing if he would ever be able to return.
It was only in 2008, after vigorous rounds ofspeech therapy and vocal training,that David returned to music. His experience and heartbreak were source of inspiration and what drove him back into writing and composing music. He felt like he was given a second chance, and planned to use it to it’s full potential. “No one can tell me when I’m done. Only God can.” he said. During this time, David turned to the Bible in search of meaning and strength, and described it almost as a fairy tale; the possibilities were endless.
The combination of all these new found inspirations led David to write “Right From Wrong,” a song depicting the obstacles one encounters when in a relationship. He describes the songwriting process as his “natural state of mind.” He uses situations that surround him to write lyrics that are easily relatable to his audience. Along with the composing of new songs, David also formed a new band called “Calling Broadway” with friends Mike Segreto and Daniel D’Urbano. Together they played acoustic sets across Italy and began recording their new material.
At the end of 2009, they submitted “Right From Wrong” to the Canadian Radio Star Songwriting Competition for Virgin Radio. Out of 5000 songs submitted, theirs was chosen as the Regional Winners for the province of Quebec. They continued on to play at the Toronto Music Festival and had the opportunity to meet many big names in the industry. Throughout the remainder of the year, they headlined 4 sold out shows at different venues including the Plaza Theatre of Montreal and were the first-ever rock band to perform at 737 Nightclub.
The end of the summer took them back to the Pompeii Festival, where it all began for David. “I never gave up through all the obstacles. It was a success to come back; it felt like coming home,” he says. All of their hard work and success was proven when they were contacted by Pete Bennett, the world’s top celebrity promoter. Keeping in contact with Bennett and all his former collaborators, David continues to work on future plans and music.
What’s his favorite part? “Just the energy of being on stage, and all the cheers and screams from the audience,” David says, laughing. Evidently, his mother became accustomed to the noise and unconditionally supports David, as well as his father who has become such a strong believer in his dream. With undying support from his family and friends, it’s clear that David is surrounded by plenty of positive energy. The key to his success is not his handsome looks or even his memorable song lyrics. It is undeniably his strong will and his passion to succeed. The obstacles and complications he has faced are certainly enough to break a person, however David managed to turn them into positive lessons and move forward with his life. “It’s not how hard you fall, it’s how fast you get back up,” he quotes. When asking David where he sees himself in 5 years, he grins and replies: “Accepting a Grammy… and still being me.”