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Topeka native Eddie Wakes returns to capital city for concert

Topeka native Eddie Wakes will return to his hometown for the "Boundless Tour" concert at 7...
Topeka native Eddie Wakes will return to his hometown for the "Boundless Tour" concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 28, at the historic Jayhawk Theatre at 720 S.W. Jackson.(Phil Anderson)
Published: May. 11, 2022 at 6:09 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - It’s been a long and winding road for Topeka native Eddie Wakes, whose vocal music career has taken him around the world.

Now, Wakes is ready to come home for a concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 28, at the historic Jayhawk Theatre at 720 S.W. Jackson in downtown Topeka.

“As far as I’ve gone, around the world, it’s been very organic,” Wakes said Wednesday afternoon while taking a break at the Jayhawk Tower, 700 S.W. Jackson. “I tell people all the time, I feel like Forrest Gump in many ways, because of all the incidental, seemingly ‘happenstantual’ encounters with destiny, and certainly historical moments.

“Yet it’s an organic thing that opened up many, many doors for me to go around the world from Topeka – all the way around the world and back.”

A graduate of Highland Park High School, Wakes and his brothers were well-known for singing as they walked down the hallways at the school.

Wakes has specialized in singing tunes from the Great American Songbook, which features artists such as Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme.

Even when he was a youngster, Wakes said, he has always been attracted to music from the Great American Songbook.

“When I was in Highland Park – even before then – I was the only guy that checked out Frank Sinatra in the library,” he recalled. “But I just somehow intuitively knew that that music was very important, and it was the bedrock of the music that you see expressed by any other artist today, including hip-hop. A lot of the musicians that even do hip-hop sample from that music, and it actually adds longevity and timelessness to music.”

Wakes, who now lives in Las Vegas, is one of nine sons born to the late Rev. M.C. Wakes and Leola Wakes, who still lives in Topeka.

Throughout his musical career, Wakes says he has received encouragement from stars such as Morgan Freeman, Gene Hackman and Michael Buble.

Wakes has had music featured in movies such as “La La Land,” a film released in 2016.

For his Topeka show, Wakes will be backed up by local musicians.

He says he’s hoping for a packed house when he returns to Topeka for what will be his first solo concert in the capital city.

“I hope everyone shows up. I hope that Topeka comes and gives me a great big hug – let ‘em know that I went away for a long time, but I’m bringing back some groceries,” he said with a laugh. “I hope they understand that I love this city, love what it taught me. I’m still using the lessons I learned here.

“The heritage is rich, the history is rich, and I hope to see them come together and help us to celebrate this next level of what we’ve been able to accomplish with music.”

Tickets for Wakes’ “Boundless Tour” concert start at $20.

For more details or to purchase tickets, visit www.jayhawktheatre.org.

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