A group of teenagers who met at a children’s hospice have released a single describing their shared experiences of cancer.
The Teenage Cancer Group at Haven House Children’s Hospice in Essex have written and recorded track released for download today, with any sale profits going to the charity.
The hip hop-influenced track is accompanied by a video featuring hard-hitting images of the youngsters undergoing treatment, in order to share the reality of their illnesses.
By using their talents, skills and relationships with each other and members of staff, the teenage cancer group have brought to life their experiences of cancer by creating a piece of music that tells their story in a way that words can’t.
Among the group was Antony Mooney, 15, who underwent intensive chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia for three and a half years. He said:
“I really enjoyed being in the studio and making music with my friends. The single is powerful. It tells not only my story but theirs too. The track’s theme is about how we have all responded to cancer. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for Haven House and meeting the teens group. I really look forward to seeing everyone. They are like a family to me.”
The year-long project began in January 2018 in the Amy Winehouse Music Room at Haven House. The youngsters aged between 13 -19 worked with the hospice’s music therapist Roxanne Scott to generate all the original material, and X-Factor winner Leona Lewis visited the hospice to assist them with the lyrics. The group agreed that they wanted their lyrics to describe their experiences of cancer, and their track became known as ‘Our Story’.
The track’s theme ‘Fork in the Road’ was decided after the young people asked themselves, “how do you respond when facing a cancer diagnosis?” As the group members described it, “you can face it head on with positivity, or get angry that it happened to you.” This idea became the central theme of the single and features in the track with the repeated lyrics “what path do I take?”
Six members of the group were offered the opportunity by the Amy Winehouse Foundation to visit Amy’s Yard studio in Camden and work with a producer to record their track. Early in September 2018, using new amps, studio quality vocal microphones and equipment, the teenagers rehearsed before heading to the studio, bringing together their lyrics and the demo track and finalising their performance. They then spent a full day recording.
Roxanne Scott, Music Therapist at Haven House, said:
“Music, songs and songwriting can represent a medium which young people can relate to, are motivated by and forms part of their identity. This has been a long-term project spanning several months, and in that time the group have taken total creative ownership.
“They approached this opportunity with creativity, musical skill, maturity, and courage. The insight shown within their lyrics is inspiring, and a testament to their strength. It’s been a joy to see how this group have developed and transformed in their confidence over this project. We’re so proud of them”.
‘Our Story’ is now available via streaming and download platforms, including Spotify and iTunes, with any profits generated going to Haven House Children’s Hospice.