Cork singer-songwriter hopes his debut single will inspire other artists with autism
A gifted singer, songwriter and musician has released his first single with a supergroup featuring West End star and folk sensation Emma Langford, in what he hopes will be a gesture of hope for people with autism .
Kevin Walsh, 28, from Cork, was diagnosed with autism aged five and has faced many challenges over the years.
But he said he hoped the release of his single would not only launch his music career, but also inspire other artists with autism.
“Music is my way of expressing myself in the world around me. By sharing myself, my story and my music, I hope to change people’s attitudes towards people with autism,” he said.
“By adopting very different vocal styles within our supergroup performance, I wanted to allude to the variety of autism diagnoses, as each person on the spectrum is an individual with different support needs and ranges of abilities.”
Described as a symphonic ballad with a rock undertone, Kevin’s single Embrace the World features a variety of vocal styles and draws inspiration from some of his favorite musical theater ensemble numbers.
Inspiration for the vocal composition came from supergroups formed by Bob Geldof, Michael Jackson and Irish Women In Harmony, he said.
Her track features an eclectic mix of talented singers, including rising West End star and college friend Emma Langford, Molly Lynch, Ger O’Hanlon, Lisa Curran, Rebecca Houlihan, Stephen Gormley, Caroline Kay and Mark Daly.
It was produced at Kitten Lane Studios by Aidan O’Connor and at MTU Cork School of Music by MA graduate Emily O’Leary with mixing engineer Rik Appleby of Lionheart Productions and mastering by Fergal Davis.
The music video was directed by Yvonne Coughlan of RSVP (Red Sandstone Varied Productions), was shot over 10 days with 11 crews and a cast of 21 character roles, 13 dancers and 22 special extras, at locations in Kerry, Limerick, Cork, London and Barcelona.
It illustrates key moments in Kevin’s life as an autistic person and the impact on his family, from a non-verbal child with eating difficulties to an adult with an honors degree in music.
Jean Law, who starred in Fair City and The South Westerlies, plays Kevin’s mother, with Logan O’Leary, Paddy Hayes and Roy O’Connor portraying Kevin at different stages of his life. Logan and Roy are also on the autism spectrum.
Kevin lives in Ballincollig, with his mother, Cathy, who says his gift for music was evident from an early age.
She fought for him to attend MTU Cork School of Music despite not having the required school leaving certificate.
He excelled, topped his class three years in a row, and graduated with honors.
His Embrace the World project was supported by a FundIt crowdfunding campaign with 278 pledges.
Half of all proceeds from the single and merchandise will be donated to the national autism charity, AsIAm.
The single will be released worldwide on April 13 to mark World Autism Month.