Singer-soldier Luke Stricklin

Celebrities, Celebrity Q&A, People
on September 11, 2005

A Soldier's Song Launches a Career

In less than six months, Army National Guard Spec. Luke Stricklin, 22, went from serving in Iraq to appearing on national TV, all because of a song he wrote while on duty. "Everyone at home always asked what it was like over there," he says. "I would tell them it was hot and change the subject. So I thought about writing a song that would answer their questions." American by God's Amazing Grace was recorded in his military tent using recording software on his laptop and a $10 microphone he'd brought from home. The Curtis, Ark., native e-mailed the finished song to his parents, and soon it was being played on the radio not just in Arkansas, but on a syndicated morning radio program as well. Stricklin also was offered a record deal and will release Luke Stricklin this month. And what happened to the guitar—the one purchased on the streets of Baghdad—that helped him create a career-making song? It stayed behind in Iraq. "In addition to training the guys coming in to take our place, we passed on things we acquired while there—TVs, DVDs—things to make it more like home," the Rudy, Ark. (pop. 72), resident says. "One guy was looking for a guitar, so I passed it on to him."