Local favorite Wise 100Doors back in Steamboat for two weeks of shows
Wise 100Doors Live
When: 9 p.m., Wednesday, July 8
Where: Red Bowl World Curry Haus, 1117 Lincoln Ave.
When: 9 p.m., Friday, July 11
Where: Toga Afterparty for the Cowpie Classic on the piece of land down from Seventh Street next door to E3 Chophouse
Wise 100Doors at Sunset Happy Hour
When: 6 p.m., Thursday, July 9
When: 6 p.m. Sunday, July 12
Steamboat Springs — Fiji native Wise Katubadrau — known as Wise 100Doors — doesn’t just perform shows; he creates an experience.
Any venue he performs, he gives it his all. Often, his sets last for up to four hours, giving fans an intense, high-energy, musically-inspiring show of covers and originals that emulate a reggae feel with positive, uplifting lyrics.
Katubadrau’s signature “mash-ups” pair the most unlikely of songs together as he plays the acoustic guitar, while singing and also playing the drums with his feet. It’s a talent he’s developed over the past eight years.
Katubadrau is in Steamboat playing rugby and performing at various venues around town.
As he was driving across Utah with his canine companion, Griff, Katubadrau spoke with Explore Steamboat about his experience on the independent music scene, inspiration for his songwriting and what it took to develop his unconventional style.
Explore Steamboat: You’ve been coming out to Steamboat for four years in a row now. What is it that keeps bringing you back?
Wise Katubadrau: The first time I came to Steamboat, that was it, I couldn’t stop. I guess I had that Yampa Valley curse. I started playing rugby here because of a buddy who asked me to come play first — then the music came. Steamboat is a quality of life, and I love the people. The town is just amazing, and the people make it even better.
ES: You travel all over the U.S. What is it about Steamboat that’s unique compared to other towns you perform in?
WK: It’s very different in Steamboat. The vibe there is one of a kind; it’s hard to explain sometimes because it’s very special to me. In California, it’s in and out when you play, and it’s just a strange vibe in some places there. When I come to Steamboat, it’s like I’m coming home. It’s nice because it’s like a hometown crowd for me.
ES: You performed with Michael Franti last year in California. What were some of the things you learned from that experience?
WK: It was fun, but scary at the same time. I learned that confidence is a huge thing, and Michael not only has that but the experience and a really special vibe. It’s a different vibe that’s intoxicating in a sense; he will make you dance to his music whether you plan to or not. He has a really strong stage presence and a strong and positive message in his music. He’s an amazing dude, and almost everyone I’ve met that has also met him says the same thing.
ES: When and why did you start playing music and is that where you developed the name Wise 100Doors?
WK: I used to sing at church — my mom was a gospel singer and songwriter — but I was shy — always hung in the back but did play the piano occasionally. It wasn’t until 2006, when I was living in Vermont, that I began to sing at a local open mic night there. After that, I learned guitar and have been playing since. Wise is my first name, and 100Doors is my last name. It’s a direct translation of Katubadrau. Katuba means door, and drau means 100.
Although I perform often now, I’m always nervous before my shows. Even right now, as I’m on way to Steamboat and as much as I love it, I’m always nervous until after that first song for some reason. I’m just now getting used to it, because a one-man show is really hard to do to keep the crowd interested the whole time.
ES: Well, with that said, what is it like being a solo act? Are there a lot of challenges with that?
WK: Yes, there are a lot of challenges to it. I did have a band back in the day, but it’s hard having a band because everyone has to be on the same page, but they have different personalities or ideas. But being a solo act is nice because I’m my own vibe, and I’m responsible for everything I do. But if I have a … (bad) … vibe one night, you can tell. Most days, though, it’s a good vibe, because it’s my happy place. It can be hard sometimes to keep the crowd rolling. You can be a great singer, but if you don’t have any soul, it’s just a hollow sound. It has to come from deep down. If a musician is bringing the music from a real (place), that makes the whole experience different.
ES: You do everything from covers to originals during your set. With so many songs to choose from, how do you decide?
WK: I do play a lot of covers but write my own stuff too and have been working on playing those live. Another thing I love about the Steamboat crowd is that they appreciate original stuff. Covers are great, but most of the time, I love to jam out to those originals. For choosing the music, it all depends on the crowd and the feel or vibe of the room. I don’t have a set list, but an iPad full of lyrics to choose from. So really, it all just depends. But it’s for four hours straight without a break, and I think that’s one thing audiences like when they come to my show because they are fascinated by that.
ES: How are you able to play for that long, especially when you are playing the guitar, singing and drums with your feet? Doesn’t that get confusing?
WK: It is at first. It took a lot of practice to be able to do this. But if it’s a gift meant for you to do, you will get it done. It’s a blessing, really. I think everybody has a gift, and once they find what that is, they will know. That’s the cool thing about that gift is that it’s unique and original. Mine is playing music. That’s how I’m able to maintain it. I’m actually doing something I love, and it’s a gift that needs to be shared. I don’t need to be taking 20- to 30-minute breaks. I need to use this gift for the time I’m given. And I’m really looking forward to finally being back in Steamboat.
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The 20th anniversary season of Opera Steamboat will kick off this month with a new series, the “Variations Piano Series,” bringing world-class pianists from across the country to Steamboat Springs.