Music Spotlight: Wade Tarling

Multi-instrumentalist, Wade Tarling lets the music do the talking with his newest collection of tunes, Strength


Some things in life come naturally. Many are athletically gifted – natural prospects to a sport of choice. Some are creatively inclined –  a pen or paintbrush can become a playground of possibilities. For Wade Tarling – born of Burnaby, B.C. and embraced by his newfound home in Newfoundland and Labrador – music came as if by instinct. 

Tarling began playing piano at age seven, branching out with saxophone in primary school. Naturally, a career in music came calling, as Tarling received his Bachelor of Music and jazz Diploma from Capilano University. From there, a change of scenery beckoned. 

“After my graduation recital I just sort of put the sax in the case and jumped aboard a cruise ship and was hired as a pianist,” Tarling shared. “I took off and did that for the next four or five years.”

Love and Music 

From the west coast of Canada to cruising across the globe, Tarling’s connection to Newfoundland and Labrador, as if by serendipity, came to him through love and music.

“I met my wife on my very first cruise ship contract, who is from Paradise,” he says. “We did another three or four contracts together as a jazz trio. I went to Vancouver for a little bit and hung out for a little while, and then I decided to come here. I immersed myself in the scene here and then it sort of took off. Over a couple of years I started to meet people and musicians and grab onto the scene a bit.”

Today Tarling is an established presence in Newfoundland and Labrador’s music climate, lending his talents to local groups Hip Waders, The Bishops and Dana Parsons Project, though he does admit becoming acclimatized to the scene took some getting used to. 

“It took a little bit as an outsider to get into the scene at first. I actually started working at a music store here and that’s what did it for me, to meet the musicians that way and jump into a couple of bands early on. That connected me. It’s such a rich history and music scene here. It’s pretty special.”

Having honed his craft learning under such industry greats as John Medeski, Billy Martin, Chris Wood and John Scofield, Tarling’s debut instrumental EP is rich in polish and passion. 

“I’ve had the idea for a number of years and just never had the time to take on that kind of project,” Tarling says of his collection of piano tracks, Strength. “Some of the songs were written for a long time. Over the past year I took it upon myself to strive toward it. It’s an album about hope, determination, tenacity. There’s a couple of songs I hope really bring that out in people, especially that first song Strength … Being instrumental music, there are no words, so you have to tell your story through the music. People can take on their own meaning with the songs. It could mean something entirely different to different people. 

Hope & Tenacity 

“These songs, they can tell that story of hope and I don’t want to sound too cheesy, but hope for a better place, a better life and having the tenacity to break through to the other side and overcome struggle,” he adds. 

“A lot of that came through my fingers on the piano. You look on the news and it all affects you. I’m feeling this, like I’m wanting to do better, add something positive into the world.” Versed in performance, arrangements and lending his skills as a teacher, Tarling is well inclined to pass along some of his acquired knowledge to prospective musicians across the province and beyond.

“ Learn as much as you can, but just do it. Just do it and let it happen,” he says. “You learn the stuff you play and you develop a vocabulary as an instrumentalist, but you always want to expand that vocabulary. That’s the way I look at it. Things you might never have thought of that are at your grasp and maybe aren’t as hard as you thought.”

Strength is available digitally on multiple platforms now. For more visit 

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