In his day-to-day dealings with members of LA’s music community, there are two things singer Chad Wolf has heard repeatedly. One involves praise for his songwriting skills, which seem to effortlessly tow the line between infectious pop music and a deeper, darker rock discourse. The other: disbelief. How did your classic struggling musician, who toiled away at coffeehouse gigs for most of his adult life, end up in one of Europe’s biggest hit-making studios writing a full album of songs with a major label deal at his side? The story may seem far-fetched, some might even say too good to be true, but somewhere between accolades and accusations is honesty, which, ironically, is what Carolina Liar is all about.

Chad’s musical aspirations started innocently enough. Growing up in Charleston, South Carolina, he was introduced to New Wave through his sister, who was eight years older. “The first record I ever bought was a 45 of Duran Duran’s ‘View to a Kill,'” he says with sentimental pride. “I brought it to my third grade class for show and tell.” By the time he got to junior high, Chad had graduated to Iggy Pop, but the Euro-centric sounds of Depeche Mode, the Cure and even Falco had also made a permanent mark on his psyche. A career in music, it would seem, was calling.

So at 20, Chad grabbed his guitar, boarded a plane for the very first time and moved to Los Angeles. To make ends meet, he held a string of odd jobs — working as an extra on a Celine Dion video, cleaning toilets in exchange for studio time — and eventually landed an internship with renowned songwriter Diane Warren. It was then that Chad honed his own writing chops while anxiously absorbing any and all advice that Diane had to offer. “At the time, my sound had no relevance,” he recalls. “Diane told me, ‘You’ve got to go to Europe. They’ll be able to relate to what you’re doing and help give you some focus.’ But, at the time, I really didn’t have the means to get out of the country.”

Which is where the story starts to get really interesting — and, at the same time, unbelievable. The affable Chad eventually networked his way to a job at a small label, and through new relationships in the industry, found himself house-sitting for a friend of famed Swedish producer Max Martin. “Max and I became friends but I never wanted to bring up music,” Chad recalls. “We’d watch Italian football together and I thought it was better to leave it that way.” So Chad labored on and continued to refine his songwriting skills. But the day came when he decided that it was now or never and as fate would have it, a phone call that very night would mean things were going to happen a lot faster than he ever imagined.

“No lie, on the very day I quit my day job, when I had no idea what I would do next, Max called at midnight and said, ‘I just listened to one of your songs. If you can write three more as good as this one, maybe we can work something out.”

And it all worked out.

The first record went platinum with the single Show Me What I’m Looking for. The second record paved the way for the band to play arenas with Kelly Clarkson , Gavin DeGraw and The Fray

Carolina Liar is on its third full length release.