Legacy in the News: Tualatin doctor is medically dedicated, and musically inclined

The Times

May 8, 2014

Though he tries to keep them separate, David Wakeling sometimes finds his music and his medicine inching toward each other. Lyrics might loosely reflect a situation at the hospital; emotions might involve themselves with patient care.

For the most part, he can separate his left brain and right brain, but every once in awhile a crossover occurs. He says it keeps him balanced.

After playing drums in a band throughout college, Wakeling, who is a hospitalist at Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center, didn’t pick up an instrument for years. He did his residency, started a practice, raised a family — music simply wasn’t a priority. There wasn’t time for it even if it had been.

Then, when he was 40 years old, Wakeling began to teach himself the guitar. Now 53, he’s released seven CDs both with bands and as a solo artist, and released an album of greatest hits in March. Wakeling’s singer-songwriter music tends to pull from his own life.

“Sometimes they’re very easy, and sometimes they’re a lot of work and a bit of a struggle,” he said. “I’ve done it in spurts where I get a ton of song ideas and then think I’m never going to get another one.”

Right now, Wakeling is experiencing the latter and working on an album of cover songs to counter this phase, though he anticipates writing original music again in the future. For him, when a song is pulled from his own experiences, there is a healing that occurs when it comes to fruition.

“I think for some people, and for me at times, it helps put some things to rest that you’ve been thinking about or struggling with,” he said. “Most of the time, when writers write, there’s something from within that they’re writing about, and I think it certainly can be healing.”

While his recently released greatest hits album was primarily composed of already released works, a new original song made the cut, titled “Your Own Space.” Written about slowing down and finding inner peace, Wakeling originally thought he was writing the song for a friend. Upon hearing it later, however, he realized that much of it was written for himself, making it that much sweeter.

“It speaks to me,” he said of the song.

Wakeling doesn’t play around town as much as he used to, but this doesn’t bother him. A lot of effort is required to find suitable venues, and with the thousands of talented musicians around town, he says he’s OK not having to compete for space. The singer-songwriter-physician knows he won’t ever make it big in the music scene — he’s always just looking for the moments when people connect to his music.

“It’s all about the human condition. It’s all about love and heartache and loss and second chances,” Wakeling said. “All of those things I see everyday with patients and families. But if you live long enough, you have it in your life, too.”

You can find David Wakeling’s music on iTunes, Spotify and Jango.

Read the original story at The Times.

Contact: Ashley Stanford Cone