By the time Buddy Wakefield decided spoken word was what he wanted to do with his life, he was living in Seattle, and working as an executive assistant at a biomedical firm. “I had been slamming for a while at that point,“ he said, “when I was asked to open for the indie finals at the 2001 Nationals. I nailed it, loathed the life I was living, woke up to the cliche in my brain ‘You only live once,’ sold or gave everything away except what I needed, took the little momentum I had created for myself and booked myself two months out at a time.”
Such is the life of a traveling poet. Born in Shreveport, LA, Wakefield moved around the country as a child, but even then, “Writing was the one thing I did without thought or task,” said Buddy. “I enjoyed it and it was my best friend and I put my embarrassing years of work in early - in terms of being really typical and cliche and bad at it. I had amazing friends along the way who kept encouraging me, who saw the message I was strugglin' to work out of my knotted noggin.”
Wakefield started performing in 1998, and left his full-time job in 2001 to pursue spoken word full time - staying on the road, performing and living out of this car for the next few years. In 2004, with encouragement and support from producer Norman Lear, who he met at an audition for Lear’s Declare Yourself voter registration project, Wakefield found himself on the way to the Individual World Poetry Slam Finals, three days after recording a performance for HBO’s Def Poetry Jam (coincidentally, Ani DiFranco performed a spoken word piece on the same episode). Wakefield won the Slam finals, won the International Poetry Festival in Rotterdam, Netherlands later that year and successfully defended his International World Poetry title again in 2005.
He has released two CDs and two books of his journal entries, poems and performance pieces. His latest CD, Live at the Typer Cannon Grand, is a collection of works that highlight what Wakefield does best - perform live. His live performances have been described as ”Dynamic, engaging, enigmatic. Buddy Wakefield…is seductively honest, with enough energy you could use it to jump-start your car on a February morning in Alaska. Just enough gentle humor to leave you feeling good. A perfect synthesis of spoken word and sound." - Kevin Charles Wixson, First Review
In addition to performing, Wakefield is a board member of the Seattle chapter of Youth Speaks, a literary arts organization that presents and develops spoken word performance throughout America. “They don't really ask me to do much but make them laugh and come support and host or perform here and there. Seattle continues to churn out incredible teams of kids; some of whose lines send me back to the drawing board.”
Visit Buddy Wakefield’s official website for more information www.buddywakefield.com.