AN AFGHANISTAN veteran is using his experiences in the forces to help launch an all-singing musical career.
Liam Wakefield, who joined the army at 19 and served on Op Herrick 15 with 1st Battalion Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, turned to music after being diagnosed with Pseudoxanthoma elasticum – a debilitating condition which left him in constant pain, caused his eyesight to falter and led to him suffering depression.
Channeling his energy into songwriting, Liam penned a new track which he released online to great acclaim and which paved the way to greater success.
He explained: “I now tour and gig regularly and have released a debut single, Thirteen Gardens, which has had more than 2,000 streams in its first week. The support from the army has been fantastic and they have now fully backed my transition as a professional musician.”
Although Liam – who describes his musical style as americana/indie-folk with a bit of old-school Bruce Springsteen/Tom Petty, and some newer influences like Mumford & Sons – never studied music, he had first-hand influence from his dad and admits that his time in the military has given him a clear story to write about and the skills to pursue his new career.
Describing his father as his “greatest musical drive”, Liam said: “He’s a phenomenal musician. I grew up around instruments – I couldn’t walk into a room without finding something to make a sound with. As for song writing, this is something I have just always had inside me. I am an avid writer, whether its stories, poems, or songs.
“Being told I can’t be a soldier anymore was the most heart-breaking moment of my life, so to be able to pick a guitar up and turn to music with as much passion as I had for soldiering has been the thing that has saved me from a really dark place.
“To be able to communicate with venues, promotors and industry professionals is made so much easier by having the confidence that the army has given me. Timings and critical decision making have been something the army has instilled in me from day one, and this has been paramount to making the right choices in my music career.”
Liam plans to take things to the next level in 2020 following the past “massive” year. He added: “I have recently landed a manager and a slot at the O2 Academy Islington in November, so, by next year, I hope to gain a bigger audience, release more music and tour. What once seemed a pipe dream now seems manageable.”
To follow Liam’s music, find him on social media @liamwakefieldmusic, search on Spotify or visit liamwakefieldmusic.com