Bradley Walker

  1. WalkerPromo01-2-1What type of health condition or disability do you have and when were you diagnosed?I have a form of Muscular Dystrophy called congenital myopathy that’s been with me from birth. In short, it just means my muscles weren’t fully developed when I was born.
  2. Is your condition progressive or is your health stable? If it is progressive, any comments on dealing with and adapting to the changes?Fortunately, this is a non-progressive disease. I feel very blessed to be in good health and able to lead a normal, busy life.
  3. Tell us about how you ended up singing and how your career took off? Have you always had such a powerful voice? Was it a gift that you just had or did you have to develop it?Music was always on in our house, growing up. My folks loved all kinds of music, and I naturally took a liking to country very early on. I started out singing in local music shows, in church, just anywhere there was someone who would listen. I sang on local television at the age of 3, and was on stage with a country band at 4! It’s always just been a natural thing for me. After high school I sang for a couple years in a country band, and along with some friends from that band formed the first bluegrass group I was a part of. Through meeting the people of our music, and having the chance to sing with almost all the major bands in the business, I was fortunate to be offered a deal with Rounder Records to record my first solo CD, “Highway of Dreams.”
  4. Did you enjoy singing other types of music or was bluegrass your favorite style? What is your favorite song from your latest album? Has there been one powerful singer that has influenced your own personal music style?I grew up on traditional country music, and have grown to love classic, traditional bluegrass as well. My music is a mixture of those two styles. “Lost at Sea” has to be my favorite cut from the CD. I love the music arrangement of that song, and I love what it says. It’s a song I can relate to. The one singer who I say is my musical hero most of all is Merle Haggard. I’ve always been drawn to Merle’s music – our vocal range is pretty much the same, and I love the songs he writes. In my book, nobody can top The Hag!
  5. How did your parents treat your disability growing up? Did they expect the same out of you as your siblings? How did they help you overcome thoughts or worries, if any, of limitations?My parents never saw a disability, or never let me see it. I was raised to “play the hand you’re dealt” in life, and taught to never use my challenges to get an “easy out.” The way I am is just normal to me; I’ve never known anything different. I’m an only child, so I didn’t have a brother or sister growing up, but I’ve been blessed to have life-long friends who also have never seen a disability or a wheelchair. They just see me as myself, and they know that I can do anything they can do, or I will die trying!
  6. Who has been the biggest influence in your life and why?If I had to pick just one person, I’d have to say my mom has influenced me most of all. She is who pushed so hard for me to be treated as equally as possible through school, and she made sure I had the opportunities to do anything I could possibly do in life. She has always supported me, and has sacrificed so many things, just to get me where I am today. I always say, I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am today if not for her.
  7. How has the music industry encouraged you with regard to singing and also having a disability? What advice can you give other young people who are aspiring entertainers or singers?It’s such a good feeling to know that a label like Rounder didn’t shy away from my situation. They believe in my music, and know that the music is what I always want to shine through the brightest. Everything is not always easy, and just like anything else in my life, there are challenges that I have to deal with, in traveling on the road, things like that, but with help from a strong, supportive family and so many dear friends, I’ve been able to realize so many of my dreams. Anyone else can do just the same, if you set your mind to it!
  8. Have you performed with other musicians that readers might know of?I’ve been so fortunate to have worked with country stars like the Oak Ridge Boys, Vince Gill, Mark Wills, and countless other country and bluegrass greats. My producer, Carl Jackson, is a two-time Grammy winner, and has had many, many chart topping hits in the country and bluegrass music industries.
  9. Tell us about your band members and how often do ya’ll practice?My band members are Dustin Benson from Nashville on guitar and vocals, Jenni Gardner, also from Nashville, on mandolin and vocals, Patton Wages, from Canton, GA on banjo/guitar and vocals, and David Babb from Johnson City, TN on upright bass. We’re pretty spread out, so our practice sessions aren’t as frequent as we’d like, but I’m so proud to have these folks with me. They do their homework, and even after being away from a stage for months at a time, it always “clicks” right back into place every time we’re together.
  10. If you were speaking to a young person today with a disability, what would you like to tell them about achieving dreams?ANYTHING is possible, and your mindset can and will hold you back or take you as far as you will let it. Dreams CAN become reality, so never think that you can’t do something just because you may have to do it different from someone else.

 

 

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