Adam Wakefield knows that fans of NBC’s The Voice are familiar with the fact that the singer can handle many different musical styles. After all, that’s the benchmark of the popular primetime staple.
“I sang a lot of different kinds of stuff on the show,” he tells Billboard. “I’d sing a Sam Cooke song, and then an Allman Brothers song, and then a Willie Nelson tune, so I sang a lot of different kinds of music. I think that when you listen to a song like ‘Blame It On Me’ (his current single with the full band) there’s a lot of influences in it. I think that The Voice was really good at showcasing my ability to show all the different kinds of music that I’ve been immersed in since I was a kid. I think the show showed all the different sides of me, as opposed to a lot of the songs that I am trying to put out have a bunch of different styles all meshed together. It’s a good showcase to all of the things that I like to do.”
Today, Billboard is debuting a new acoustic video for “Blame It On Me,” of which Wakefield says, “It’s a tune that my buddies Nolan and Adam wrote a little back while ago. Nolan (Neal) – who was on the same season of The Voice as me – he kept telling me that he had a song that was perfect for me. I finally put an arrangement together with my band, and once we played it together, we all figured that it would be really great for a first single to put out, and get my name out there, and make people more familiar with the type of music that I am trying to put out.”
Of course, on a show like The Voice, each artist has their fans, as well as their detractors, and the comments can get pretty honest. Wakefield appreciates this. “Everybody has an opinion. There’s music out there that I don’t like. I kind of like it when they say negative stuff because I always try and use it as some sort of a constructive comment. But, what are you gonna do? I think that I was pretty lucky when I was on the show. I really didn’t have a whole lot of haters,” he said, adding that others weren’t so fortunate. “Some of the other contestants who were just as talented as I am might have had a different look or a different style. Some of the comments were mean. I feel blessed about the small amount of comments that I got when I was on the show. I will say that I tortured the contestants that were friends of mine, I teased them a lot. I won’t name names, but one of my buddies would get these scathing comments when he was on the show from people who were honestly just jealous of him. I would sit in the van with him, whether we were going to the studio or wherever, and sit and whisper his YouTube comments in his ear. He would get so upset with me, but it was funny.”
Ironically, though the singer – who has just issued his self-titled debut EP of original music — is turning heads with his vocals, he admits that wasn’t his original motive. He moved to Music City to simply play music, with no dreams of being a recording artist himself. Once he arrived in town, things quickly changed. “When I was growing up, I didn’t realize that there was a difference. I thought that people just learned to play music and that they got famous for playing music. As I got older, and in a position where I needed to make money playing music, the best way for me to do that was to back other people up, and that’s what I did. I had a band for a long time, and I wanted them to make it. But, when I moved to Nashville, I decided to take a step back from the whole thing and just try to relax and back some folks up. Once I got here, I saw all the great music coming from here, I got the bug and started writing a lot. I figured out that I wasn’t going to be able to hear all these songs that I had been writing. So I started putting my money where my mouth was, and started to sing them.”
His voice these days is impressing many, as he is handling interim vocalist duties for highly-respected group The SteelDrivers. The New Hampshire native knows that he is stepping into some very hallowed musical ground. “It’s very surreal. I’ve been playing with them long enough to the point that when I’m on stage and I will have problems with the sound or tuning my guitar, I’ll start getting mad, and then I’ll think ‘Wait a minute, dude. You’re on stage singing with one of your favorite bands of all time. Just enjoy this – every minute that you can.’ I remember when they called me to see if I would be interested in filling in for the first time, I was driving my truck back home, and I almost drove off the road. Chris Stapleton has always been a huge influence, and Gary Nicholson is just as talented. They are two people that I look up to a lot, and to be able to be in that capacity for at least right now is unreal. I’m very happy.”