On the 20th February at the Hard Rock Cafe, Mayfair London, the album ‘Building Bridges’ – for charity Anna Kennedy Online – was launched to raise awareness of autism.
I know what some of you may be thinking: ‘Yet another charity album that without question, is in aid of a deserving cause, but seriously lacks music by performers you’d want to listen to more than once’ and you would be absolutely right – except for the latter of course, because this album would rival anything currently listed in the charts.
The album ‘Building Bridges’ includes nine beautifully written tracks, performed by eight extremely talented artists, all of who are on the autistic spectrum.
One of the artists is 17 year old Kieron Lee from Northfield with his track ‘Letting Go’.
Birmingham’s very own singer songwriter, Aaron Yorke, was introduced to the idea to produce an album entirely performed and written by people on the autistic spectrum by Anna Kennedy OBE (Founder of the charity Anna Kennedy Online).
Kieron, was diagnosed with autism at the early-age of three after his parents noticed that he was struggling to focus in a day-to-day environment. Once a student at Waseley Hills High School in Rubery, he often found it difficult coping in a mainstream environment without the right amount of support – so he transferred to St. Paul’s School (Balsall Heath) which catered for his needs, and gave him lots of support in transferring to college and preparation for every-day life.
He’s now doing what he loves, studying music at South and City College
We caught up with the very busy fella and put some questions to him:
Kieron: “I was introduced to singer/songwriter Aaron Yorke who works with the CAT Team (Communication Autism Team), a part of Birmingham City Council. During an interview for their Youtube Channel, I performed Titanium when Aaron then asked me to participate in the album that was apart of the Anna Kennedy Online Charity.”
How long have you been singing? Have you had lessons?
Kieron: “I have been singing for as long as I can remember, I never took part in any singing lessons; however I was known for a highlighted spot in any music events happening at school!
Which artist would you say is your biggest influence?
Kieron: “Lots of artists for me are inspirations, Miley Cyrus, JP Cooper, Ariana Grande, Angela Lansbury, the list goes on, and picking an all top favourite is difficult. Growing up I have always been a big fan of basement and R&B, in fact all music genres.”
What does it mean to you to be a part of this album?
Kieron: “When Aaron told me about the album, I wasn’t sure of what I was getting into, purely because the album was based around autism – I didn’t want to be recognised because of my diagnosis.
“During the meet ups, recording, interviews and photo shoots I eventually adjusted and was absolutely thrilled with the outcome. Anna and the team are absolutely fabulous always give their all to the people that deserve it, I definitely won’t hesitate if I’m asked to be involved in another one of her projects!
“Being apart of the album is a dream come true, It’s not everyay you get to meet people like, Luke Friend, JP and Tony Dicipline. I am overwhelmed with the outcome and this is just the start of something new!”
Anna Kennedy Online is a wonderful organisation that promotes the inclusion and equality of all individuals with autism throughout society by raising awareness of the challenges faced by people with disabilities.
The charity which does some truly amazing work and supports thousands of people throughout the country, is also behind the extremely successful ‘Autism’s Got Talent’ which is based on the popular TV hit Britain’s Got Talent. (It could be argued that Autism’s Got Talent is better!)
Anna Kennedy OBE said about the album: “I am so proud of all the performers on Building Bridges our very first Charity Album. When they all performed at Hard Rock Mayfair at the launch the crowd was buzzing and they really stepped it up and sang tall and proud. I have become somewhat the Simon Cowell of the autism world and hope to produce another charity album next year Watch this space!”
She added “Our Charity is about creating opportunities for talented performers on the autism spectrum to showcase how talented they really are.”
Where can you buy the album & singles?
Buy on iTunes
Buy on Ditto
Buy on Anna Kennedy Online
B31 Voices would encourage everybody to purchase this album, not because it’s for a charity or because Kieron Lee is a lovely young fella, but simply because it’s splendid!