Wade Tower breezes into a Bricktown restaurant like a summer wind on a chilly December day. His snappy suit is reminiscent of Don Draper of “Mad Men,” and his easy smile hints at the tone of the music he sings.
Tower croons tunes from the 1940s to modern hits and now has a Christmas album for this holiday season.
Hear the man himself at “Martinis & Mistletoe,” 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21 at Stillwater Community Center.
Tower was bitten by the entertainment bug as a child. Born in Chickasha, his first stage appearance was as Joseph in his church's Christmas play. He was 5.
“That was it,” he said.
His parents moved to Stillwater soon after and realized their son was serious about his career choice.
“In school, I was asked to write what I wanted to be when I grew up,” he said. “I said I wanted to be famous like Bobby Goldsboro.”
By the time he was a fifth-grader, he was taking voice and acting lessons.
His passion was fueled by evenings spent watching old movies with his mom.
“I loved Bing Crosby, Clark Gable and Fred Astaire,” he said.
He graduated from high school a year early and started school at Oklahoma State University on a theater scholarship.
He went one semester before being cast in a small role in the 1985 TV movie shot in Oklahoma City, “Surviving.” The movie starred Molly Ringwald, River Phoenix, Ellen Burstyn, Len Cariou, Zach Galligan, Marsha Mason and Paul Sorvino.
“My character didn't even have a name. I got into a fight with Zach Galligan,” he said.
He went to Los Angeles that fall and returned to Oklahoma the next spring to star in an independent horror movie, “The Ripper.”
His next movie, also an independent horror film, had a lot more star power.
“Revenge” starred John Carradine and Patrick Wayne.
Both movies were directed by actress Loretta Young's son, Christopher Lewis.
He had been cast in his first leading role for a TV movie to be called “Best Foot Forward” when things fell apart and his movie career ended.
He went to work for his father and fed his love of performing by singing in church.
A conference in Utah 13 years ago changed his life again.
“I was at a software conference and a guy there knew I could sing and asked me to emcee an event for him,” Tower explained.
“It was a dinner on a Thursday night. I joked and sang and it worked.”
People started to ask him if he could come and do the same thing for them at their meetings.
He did a few meetings a year and in 1999 his church lost its music director and asked him if he could temporarily step in, which he did for six-and-a-half years, still working full-time in another job.
He never lost his love of acting and singing.
Finally, he told his wife he wanted to try show business again.
“I'm supposed to be an actor,” he told his wife. “It's what I love to do and if I'm going to do it, I have to do it now.”
He took a job working for a Stillwater collection agency as a day job and started singing anywhere he could get a gig.
The local gigs turned into regional, then national; Tower now spends a lot of time on the road doing private events.
In 2011, he released his first CD, “Nice & Easy,” full of standards like “Night and Day,” “Luck Be a Lady,” “The Way You Look Tonight” and “My Way.”
Tower's voice is smooth and silky, in the same style as Michael Buble.
“I'm a throwback,” he said. “I love the music from the 1940s to the 1960s,” he said. “I love manners and dressing well. Look at Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. Look at Bob Hope. I want to entertain, but I want to be nice while I'm doing it.”
He is. His well-tailored suit looked great with a white, French-cuffed shirt with matching pocket square, understated cuff links and a nice blue and black-striped tie.
If you can't catch Tower at his Dec. 21 show, he'll be performing at Sugar Creek Casino in Hinton on Feb. 16.
Between those dates, he'll be performing in Pennsylvania, Florida and Chicago.
Tickets to “Martinis & Mistletoe” are $10 for adults and $8 for children younger than eight. For tickets or more information, call (405) 533-8433 or www.tickets.stillwater.org.
His CDs are available on iTunes, Amazon, cdbaby.com or wadetower.com.