A special gig is coming up in Hastings this month from Daniel Wakeford, a local singer-songwriter from the UK’s burgeoning learning disabled music scene. Celebrating the recent release of his debut album Songs of Gigs, his show will take place on July 21 at the Observer Building.
If you saw the C4 series The Undateables, you might well remember Daniel in his quest to find love.
The programme revealed his endearing character but viewers didn’t discover that Daniel is a talented singer songwriter who writes catchy, joyful pop anthems with honest, imaginative and poetic lyrics.
His personality comes out in his songs, and even more so in live stage performance which oozes charisma and charm, devoid of any pretension. Daniel’s gig in Hastings will be part of his first ever UK tour, made possible by DIY disability arts organisation Constant Flux. The tour and album release hope to portray a much needed positive image of learning disabled people in the media, helping to highlight the challenges faced by musicians with learning disabilities.
Daniel has been writing and recording music since 2009. Working alongside musician Tom Cook, Daniel brings lyrics and a melody to him every Friday and within an hour and a half a song will be created. Taking this approach Daniel has amassed an impressive back catalogue, in excess of 60 songs. 10 of these songs have been taken to Metway Studios in Brighton, re-recorded, given the time and attention they deserve and compiled to create his first album proper, The Songs Of Gigs. His songs are about his life and the things he loves, from his family and friends, to bad feelings and Beethoven.
The album has been released through Carousel, the learning disability arts organisation that supports him as an artist.
Alongside this Daniel teamed up with Constant Flux, with funding from Arts Council England, to put together a tour to promote his album. Having performed in and around Brighton and London for years, he wins over every audience he plays to. He is playing gigs across the country including Bradford, Glasgow, Brighton, Bristol and London.
Daniel, who describes himself as an singer songwriter with autism, is an important part of the learning disabled music scene in the UK and through celebrating this, it will portray a much needed positive image of learning disabled people in the media and helps highlight the challenges faced by musicians with learning disabilities.
Marc Riley of BBC 6music called him “a legend and an inspiration” while Supernormal Festival commented: “Daniel Wakeford brings heartfelt euphoria wherever he goes. His seemingly bottomless well of material offers up classic after classic in the shape of relentlessly catchy pop naivetes. It’s the delivery that sets Daniel apart, anyone with a shred of a soul can’t help but be won over by his unbounded joy and enthusiasm.”