Wade Darnell found his passion for music when he first heard bluegrass music on the radio at the age of 14. Immediately he fell in love with the sound of the banjo, mandolin, guitar, violin, and bass combined into one to create beautiful music. After attending several bluegrass festivals and events, Wade decided that he wanted to learn to play the banjo. Every aspect of the banjo fascinated Wade and still does today.
When Wade began, he learned to play the three-finger style of playing the banjo, which is the most popular of styles today. He listened primarily to Flatt and Scruggs and wasn't happy unless he played note-for-note like Scruggs.
After playing bluegrass for a year, Wade began experimenting with other genres of music. He began playing material such as jazz, blues, classical, electronic, and rock, not only to tap into the banjo's possibilities, but to learn more about music as a whole. Though the banjo is popularly tagged with bluegrass music, Wade believes that it is not a 'pigeon holed' instrument, and that it can be integrated into any genre of music.
At the age of 18, Wade had the opportunity to work with Rachel Grubb, violinist for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, and conductor of the Oak Ridge Youth Symphony Orchestra. Wade composed a piece and performed it with Rachel Grubb's orchestra, and also performed duet shows with Rachel during the summer of 2010.
At the age of 20, Wade attended several of Professor Rudolph Nemeth's music courses at Roane State Community College. Wade introduced Rudolph to his progressive approach to the banjo, and they soon began composing a repertoire that featured banjo and piano. Nemeth introduced Wade to double bassist Travis Witherington, and the trio formed the band Arte Musica (Latin for "The Art of Music").
Wade also plays guitar and piano in addition to the banjo. When asked who he gives the credit to or how he's progressed, he gives the credit to God.