Photo by David Majure

By Alex Gallagher | July 9, 2021

Former “American Idol” contestant Wade Cota named his forthcoming debut full-length album “Sweet Boy Summer.”

However, it’s anything but playful, as its focus will be on the highs and lows that Cota faced over the last year.

“I’ve gone through a lot. I went through a major breakup and I lost my dad and my nephew,” Cota says.

“It’s been a dark space for me lately, and I wanted to get out some of those messages as well as some of my healthy triumphs. There’s so many little things that have happened as well.”

He’s sharing his stories through song on “Sweet Boy Summer,” which he plans to release in August. Inspired by the term “hot girl summer,” Cota wanted to create a title that suited him a bit more. While conversing with a close friend, the phrase “sweet boy summer” slipped out. Cota immediately knew that was what he wanted to call his album.

In terms of sound, Cota has given fans a taste of what to expect with the singles “Fake It” and “Ordinary Life,” two songs he hopes will reinvigorate rock ’n’ roll.

“I’m trying to bring back rock ’n’ roll. I feel like it’s dying,” Cota says. “I want people to nudge back into rock like it’s 1999 again.”

Cota also yearned to create a collection with a variety of stories.

“With my first EP, the entire thing was a story,” he says. “I wrote it to be more like a movie. With ‘Sweet Boy Summer,’ I wrote it to be a bit more like a sitcom.”

“Sweet Boy Summer” along with the tracks “Constellations” and “I Know” are evidence of Cota’s self-improvement mission.

“I’m also trying to do something better with my life and my music,” Cota says.

“This is the first time in my career where I have recorded something that I feel I could roll down my windows and blast it at the highest volume. I am so confident and comfortable with this music. This album will, too, have obscure album art to complement the name.”

He described the artwork as a photo of him with his tousled jet-black hair and his face smeared with blood, which drips onto his shirt as he holds a human heart with a bite taken out of it.

“I wanted to do something obscure that catches people’s eyes and they’ll think, ‘What is this?’” Cota says.

For fans that are anxious to hear Cota’s voice, he can be seen playing original music the last Saturday of each month at Charley’s Sports Grill in Glendale.

He also hosts studio sessions on Mondays at Tim Finnegan’s Irish Restaurant and Pub in Glendale, as well as Tuesdays at The Golden Margarita in Downtown Phoenix. It’s a concept he created to highlight the up-and-coming artists the state has to offer.

“It’s different from an open mic event. I actually get to book the night and showcase good artists,” Cota says.

“I wanted to create a better environment for customers by booking the best artists I know. I think it’s cool to be playing at all, no matter the venue, and to be able to bring out a group of musicians who are hungry to play. The talent I see every week at open mic events and elsewhere is out of this world.”

He is most excited to play a September 3 festival in Corpus Christi, Texas, alongside another “American Idol” alumni, Chris Daughtry, and headliners the Offspring and Pop Evil. He hopes that he can tour with any of those artists following the show.

“Everything is looking up, and I’m feeling good,” Cota says.

Cota hopes that fans will not just hear his voice but find comfort in the album’s lyricism.

“I want people to really listen to the words of the album. I hope that everyone can listen to the words and take something from it,” Cota says. “I want there to be something on there for everybody.”

Wade Cota



WHEN: 7 p.m. the last Saturday of each month

WHERE: Charley’s Sports Grill, 8110 W. Union Hills Drive, Suite 350, Glendale

COST: Free


WHEN: 7 p.m. Mondays

WHERE: Tim Finnegan’s Irish Restaurant and Pub, 17045 N. 59th Avenue, Glendale

COST: Free


WHEN: 8 p.m. Tuesdays

WHERE: The Golden Margarita, 330 E. Roosevelt Street, Downtown Phoenix

COST: Call for charge