Oh my goodness. I can't remember when I last had goose bumps and swimming eyes like this.
I don't often share links on my posts but I have a tiny personal link in something globally important and this has a connection and line directly to my heart.
You see a few years ago I was having dinner with family friends. I was sitting next to one of their three incredible daughters, Megan, who was twelve at the time and a budding singer/songwriter.
Throughout most of the meal, she and I were talking about music. She asked me how people go about writing songs and I told her how I wrote songs with my friend Carl Thiel for my TV series.
And even before the meal was over, and because she is one amazing kid, and I am a 14 year old trapped in an older dude's body, we decided, there and then, to write a song together about kindness and compassion.
We got right to it. We excused ourselves and went to the piano in the living room and she came up with a wonderful melody.
After discussing ideas around the meaning of the song, I went home and wrote the lyrics. She made a rough recording and we all enjoyed the result. I tried to share the song with some producers but to no avail however...the seeds were sewn for her song, Hand In Hand. When Megan was thirteen and in 7th grade she was given a school project to do anything she was passionate about.
And that's when she, and her mom Carolyn, remembered the song we had written the year before.
Megan created her project (pictured here) and presented it at school, coupled with the original recording of the song she wrote, sang, played and produced herself, on Garage Band, with her own harmonies.
Fast forward to the present.
Megan is fifteen and this is what's happening with the song right now, in Megan's mother's own words:
'The idea for Project Empathy was borne out of a conversation in January with a friend who teaches in China and was experiencing the threat of the coronavirus firsthand.
In an attempt to comfort his students who, like him, were quarantined in their apartments, he sent out a message of empathy and encouragement to his kids that was obviously well received.
A few days later, I remembered a song my daughter had written in middle school that she used for a project to show how music could be used as therapy to help children in difficult situations.
I sent the song across to him in China, offering it as a tool for when he next connected with his students.
He came back with a request that it be presented in video format so that subtitles could run across the screen simultaneously so the kids could understand the intent of the song.
I elicited the help of two creative friends in Austin and Project Empathy was borne.
We started small by recording my daughter's voice and coming up with an idea of how to film her, but deep down I knew it could be so much more.
I knew that if we involved more children on our end it would give them an opportunity to grow their empathy muscles, which would in turn make the project mutually beneficial to both parties.
I asked the middle school choir director if she would be interested in creating harmonies and performing alongside my daughter, she agreed.
I asked the principal at the elementary school if the children might be interested in drawing pictures or writing letters expressing empathy to be included in the project, she said yes.
I asked neighbors if their children would be willing to be extras in the filming portion of the project, and they gave their consent.
Soon, this joint effort to creatively express our empathy through music and art became a connection point for our small community.
So, this is what we present to you. A labor of love from a small community in Austin, Texas, to be shared with children quarantined the world over because of the coronavirus.
Empathy is knowing that we can’t change your situation, but we can offer to enter in to it with you – even from a distance – to say we see you, we feel with you, and we hope our music makes you feel like we are sitting right there with you, hand in hand, waiting for this storm to pass.' - Carolyn Grant
Please listen to the song and join me in sharing the talents of an amazing child, her wonderful family, and an incredibly compassionate community.
Watch the video below:
"The place where I grow ideas and create stories using words, illustrations and photographs." - Trevor Romain