It was at Summer camp in Backwoods, Ontario, Canada, when I was about 13 years old, where your music would touch me for the first time. There was this camp counselor who would play guitar by the campfire, strumming and singing "All I Want Is You" all the while we would star-gaze, listen to the crackle of the fire, thinking about what kind of adventures tomorrow would bring. Maybe it was his voice, I have always listened for slight intricacies in a persons voice (and in his voice there were an abundance) but in the end it was the song that stood out and the song that I connected to. Your song.
Anyone could sit here and write about how your voice is rich in colour (burgundy) texture (winter honey) and beauty (sunset/sunrise) but that would be stating the obvious, so I won't go on about that. Your stamina is wildly fascinating and unbeatable. The ideas and dreams that you pursue and live out are epic in nature and clearly heartening, these, too, are obvious. What isn't obvious is how you have touched individuals, and how you have inspired them (us) to grow. There is no way you could know how deeply you have moved so many people, individually. But today I will share with you one story, my story.
From as early as I can remember, I would sit on the floor in my bedroom, at ear level with my ghetto-blaster, listening to and singing along with many, many a song. My introduction to recording a song was most likely me pressing record on my boom-box and singing along with some top forty radio song enter "Ebony and Ivory." You have no idea how badly I wanted to be a "Mini Pop," singing "Video Killed the Radio Star." A musical life just had to be!
My first real stage performance occurred in a High School talent show, where I would showcase my voice away from the stereo, under lights and in front of a red velvet curtain, holding a microphone for the first time, singing Sinead O'Connor's "Black Boys on Mopeds." Years later I would understand the meaning of the song. But as it stands, melody and vocal sounds are what grab me first. Then lyrics. This was the song that gave me my first dose of musical confidence.
Ten years on I would buy my first guitar in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada and on that first guitar, I would write the song that I asked you to listen to. It was the first proper song that I would record, and I took that song with me, everywhere. Introducing once more, "Wide World."
After leaving St. John's, I moved to the Wesht of Ireland, a couple hours north of Galway City. I worked at an old and beautiful hotel on the Sea with a far off view of Croagh Patrick called Renvyle House Hotel. It was here where you and your Loved ones would attend a weekend wedding. I was so excited to be scheduled to work that weekend, I brought my Discman with me, praying for the courage to ask you to lend your ear and so curious to see your reaction to my music. In all honesty, I missed the staff meeting telling us NOT to approach you or any of your family unless it was work related. I am SO glad I missed that meeting otherwise I would never have heard your encouraging words in my ears at the darkest of times.
I will never forget the way your face lit up to the sound of my very first song, to the sound of my voice. I will never forget the smile that grew upon your face and the choice words of encouragement that you gave to me. It was my first recorded song and it was all I had. You gave me the strength to continue, when those around me just didn't get it, and were unable to offer up the things I needed to hear. It was your sentiments that kept me going in and among all the rejection. Whenever I started to feel supremely down in the world that makes up the music industry, I would see your bright eyes smiling to my music. Meeting you would change my life for the better and cause me to continue on, over and over.
Most likely I was just a blip on your 'filled-to-the-brim' schedule and perhaps you never thought about that short moment again, but in case you DID wonder... Well, my musical story continues...
Today, more than ten years after that Sunday afternoon in the courtyard under an Irish sky, I have continued on in my pursuit of music, and have just released my third record. It would (obviously) be an honour to me if you would have a listen to this newest Labour of Love "Chameleon." Also a few weeks ago we filmed a video featuring music from said record, which you can watch here: "Donal Og/Apologies."
Clearly it would be amazing if you Loved this new music and found a way to help me get it out to more music Lovers. Truthfully, with all the death happening around us, I wanted to inform you that there is a girl out there making cool stuff happen because you took the time to listen and share, all those moons ago....I wanted you to know, today, how grateful I am because of it. So, Bono, I thank you.