Slade Coffman has been playing music all his life, although that doesn’t exactly make him a seasoned veteran of the scene.
Still just 14 years old, Coffman has already accomplished what many longtime players never do, he’s written and performed on an album, and performed one of his own songs for a sizeable crowd.
While he got into music at the age of five, he only recently made the switch from piano to guitar as his primary instrument, and has been learning the craft from Golden musician John Jenkins for a little over two years.
Jenkins, a frequent performer at Truffle Pigs, a Field restaurant owned by Coffman’s parents, has been a strong, positive influence for him.
“He’s fantastic. He’s really encouraging and his type of teaching isn’t really strict, it’s laid back…he’s taught me so much,” Coffman said.
With his strong background in music, Coffman was able to take to his new instrument quickly.
“It was hard at first getting the fingers down but it came really quickly with all of the chords and stuff,” Coffman said.
For Jenkins’s latest album, titled Green, Coffman wrote one of the tunes, Stop, and contributed vocals on a couple of other tracks, the first time the young artist has been a part of a recording session.
For Stop, Coffman says he wrote the chords first and then the song came together lyrically afterwards.
“It’s kind of just a song about different situations and things that you want to stop…If you want something to change then do it, because it’ll never stop,” he explained.
Coffman performed on stage with John Jenkins’ Small Town Revival in May for the group’s CD release concert and will do so again this summer when the band plays as the tweener act at Summer Kicks on July 20. Many kids his age might get nervous in front of large crowds, but Coffman is a natural after years of performing on stage.
“At our town Christmas concerts I’ve been going up since I was three so I’ve been getting used to it and enjoying it. You always get a little bit nervous but it’s less of a big deal now,” he said.
Moving forward, Coffman – who counts Queen and Jason Mraz among his primary musical influences – isn’t sure where music will take him. He has other interests, including diving and skiing, but music remains one of his favourite hobbies.
Coffman plans to get back into the studio with Jenkins shortly in order to record a new song that he wrote.
It’ll be yet another stepping stone in Coffman’s short, but already promising musical career.