Betsy Ade & the Well-Known Strangers

Betsy Ade & the Well-Known Strangers (BAWKS) have been entertaining Midwest audiences with their cello-infused alternative pop/rock sound. Members Betsy Ade (lead vocals, guitar), Joe Adamek (guitars), Cameron Fair (cello, keyboards), Brittany Lumley (multi-instrumentalist, supporting vocals), John Kulas (bass guitar), and Taylor Kaye (percussion) have released 4 CD’s, a full-length album, several EPs, and an exciting range of fun and influential videos. 

Ade’s rich lyrical gifts are essential and her vocal delivery is simply unmatched in contemporary pop/rock music. In addition to Ade’s talents, the band members have an amazing mix of musical knowledge and education that provides a unique sound that is reminiscent of familiar music from the ’90s while being expressively groundbreaking and melodically rich. They have been humbled by their success, performing with international acts that include Blind Melon, Blue October, Candlebox, The Gufs, Skerryvore, Sebastian Bach, and many more. While Ade and Adamek do most of the songwriting, it’s the band’s creative spark and sonic diversity that are the driving force behind their sound.

Well-Known Strangers grew out of a 15+ year friendship between Ade and Adamek. Then, after performing at a mutual friend’s wedding in May 2014, the two discussed the possibility of a music collaboration and began seeking out talent. In February 2015, Well-Known Strangers were born. Their name comes from the idea that they were all individually “well-known” in the local music scene when they got together, but on a personal level some of them were “strangers” to one another. BAWKS are proud supporters of the fight against human trafficking, LGBTQ community, first responders, Veterans, and the ongoing battle against cancer. Ade is especially passionate about cancer research, after losing her mother to Hodgkin’s disease when she was just nine years old. Well-Known Strangers continue to raise awareness of these important issues through community events and through their talents as musicians and artists. â€‹

2019 was an exciting year for BAWKS! Ade was a Top 24 Contestant on NBC's "The Voice", where she had the rare opportunity to work with 3 different coaches, including; John Legend, Kelly Clarkson, and Adam Levine. Ade’s experience on “The Voice” has brought international attention to the band’s talents and charitable efforts. BAWKS are now aggressively releasing new music, having just released their newest EP ”Awaken” on February 14, 2020, and are planning on three (3) more EP's this year. They are also up for three (3) different Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) awards including Female Vocalist of the Year, Strings Player of the Year (Cameron Fair), and Song of the Year for their hit “Light up My Summer”. 

Adamek plays rhythm guitar and has spent more than three (3) decades playing drums, guitar, and bass guitar in several bands throughout the southeast Wisconsin area. Adamek knows cancer well and is deeply passionate about cancer research, having survived Liposarcoma and currently battling Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL). In addition, Adamek is a decorated Gulf War Veteran, having fulfilled eight years of active service in the US Navy and was honorably discharged.

Fair has been playing cello for approximately 13 years, in addition to experience with keyboards, bass and ukulele. Fair is currently attending UW-Parkside having received a Bachelor's degree in Cello Performance and is currently pursuing a Computer Science certificate. After college, Fair intends to start working on his Master’s in Cello Performance. 

Kulas, an all-around excellent guitarist, utilizes his diverse abilities to hone his talent on bass and is the driving force behind the band's social media successes. Kulas’, the band comedian, has a dry sense of humor that is intoxicating and helps to keep BAWKS focused on not only creating amazing music together, but having a great time doing so. Kulas and Adamek attended Grade School and High School together.

Lumley began playing guitar and writing songs in high school. While she was in college at UW-Madison, she performed and recorded with both an Indie Folk band and a Math Rock band in addition to her work as a solo singer songwriter. Lumley also sang with a jazz music ensemble at UW-Madison which has influenced her smooth, yet bold vocal style and her ability to improvise.

Kaye has been playing drums for 12 years, having played in the high school jazz band and a few different bands post high school. Kaye has a wide range of musical tastes, and her energy and attitude is integral to the band's success. Kaye has her degree in Mechanical Engineering. 

In addition to this year’s WAMI nominations, BAWKS have been recognized through numerous awards and nominations since inceptions. This includes, but not limited to; Winners of the 2019 Wisconsin Area Music Industry’s Best Rock/Pop Band, 2018 Shepherd Express Best Band, 2018 WAMI awards for Best Rock/Pop Band, and a monthly award for Best Song on Songwriter’s Universe. Betsy Ade & the Well-Known Strangers music can be found on iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon, and heard on Pandora and Apple Music.