It’s funny how sometimes it is the brief moments of quiet reflection that can lead to the biggest changes on your journey through life.
I remember being several years into a career in publishing (managing a small creative team in promotions for Marie Claire and several other women’s magazines) and as I was running a bath, found myself wondering whether my job was actually helping anybody; was I proud of my career choice so far?
I had always been involved in various singing events in my University days, from lunch time recitals and leads in Gilbert & Sullivan shows, to a stint at the Wimbledon Light Opera Society and singing at the weddings of friends.
It was when my father was diagnosed in his early 60’s with Alzheimers that I realised the power and impact of music on the human brain. I had gone to sing at his care home as a one-off and was surprised to find I had my father back for the hour that I sang. When he died I decided to carry on that work as a part-time job and my reputation quickly grew in my home borough of Surrey. So I merrily sang for many low-key community events and institutions: a disabled centre, Woking Hospice, care homes and support groups in the borough.
Then in 2016 I came across a news story that hit me hard. A 12 year old boy had killed himself, reportedly after being bullied at school for being gay. His face, blond hair and smile shone out of his school photo like a happy little angel. As a mother to school-aged children myself the story stayed with me a long time.
Some months later I heard a simple piano composition from a student on an online music chat forum – as soon as I heard it I thought about the young boy and words filled my head… all the words I wished I could have said to a young child in such a dark place.
A melody just poured out of me and I contacted the composer to tell him of my plans to include his piano in what became a song dedicated to this young boy and to all the young people struggling with life.
I have now finished the video I created for it – the video for Arise is below – and decided early on that it would be more powerful without me in it; that a young male actor needed to show a descent into a dark place. The lyrics appear via a mobile phone which ironically can be the bringer of such misery to young people who can’t escape being targeted by bullies via their phones and social media.
I identified early on that PAPYRUS would be the perfect charity to support through this track; this is a reflection of their dedication to help young people such as the 12 year old who sadly did not receive help in time.
My goal is to use my voice and music to heal wherever and to whomever I possibly can. I believe music to be a powerful way to inspire and help our young people.