Hundreds of musicians come to Austin to play SXSW, each of them taking their own path to get there.
"So let's find an open road, so I can show you where it goes,” sings Luke Wade as he plays his set at the HandleBar in downtown Austin.
The road to where musician Luke Wade is now, has been windy.
This is the seventh time the Texas native has played SXSW.
"You can just have the best time,” said Wade. "It's like music Christmas.”
But Wade still remembers the first time he played a SXSW showcase.
"I was so excited I got to play like one showcase that was way off the beaten path that no one showed up at,” said Wade.
He's come a long way since then, from competing on The Voice to an international tour.
But he always likes coming back to Texas.
"I played here for so many years before things started happening, that crowds are bigger here, crowds are more excited, people know my older albums here,” said Wade. "I think everyone is a product of their environment and Texas has a really special thing, a special culture and attitude."
Even though he grew up outside of Fort Worth, he didn’t go to SXSW until he could play.
"I'm kind of, as an artist, it's just the way I think about things is I will, I’ll get to go whenever I play," said Wade.
Throughout his journey, Wade said he's stayed true to himself. For example, he continues to raise money to create and release his albums.
"It's a moment for you to just kind of get people excited again, and to get the record paid for and that way if you don't make any money it's not a big deal it's just a promotional thing,” said Wade. "I started out as an independent artist, and by the time labels came knocking I was already far enough that it was kind of made more sense to me to just stay independent."
Without a label, he can make his own decisions, like his latest choice to only release singles instead of full records.
"The music industry is always changing,” said Wade.
As for his music, the college engineering, physics and astronomy major said he writes about relationships.
"My songs are all kind of reactions to things that I learn, and that's where i make all my mistakes is in that, trying to connect with people, and maybe it doesn't work out, and I learn that those are the songs that I write," said Wade.
He said one of his latest songs, “Passenger Side” is inspired by his parents who have been married more than 40 years.
"It’s just about always loving like it’s the first time you ever loved,” said Wade. "They've had their ups and downs like anyone, but they've just managed to stay really in love for 50 years."
Wade doesn't have any plans to slow down soon.
"It's not my dream anymore, whenever you have fans, its theirs just as much as it is mine,” said Wade.
So together, as musician and fans they're sure to take that windy road, to the top.
"The fans, that’s who I do it for, and as long as I have people coming to shows, buying records, than it’s got to be my job," said Wade.