Gan­der teen’s mov­ing per­for­mance be­comes a so­cial me­dia hit

Four­teen-year-old’s pas­sion­ate per­for­mance of a song about Alzheimer’s draws so­cial me­dia raves

The Southern Gazette - - EDITORIAL - BY GAIL COLLINS

A pow­er­ful new song about the dev­as­tat­ing ef­fects of Alzheimer’s has be­come a so­cial me­dia hit for a teenager from Gan­der.

Four­teen- year- old Robyn Slade recorded the song last Wed­nes­day at My Own Stu­dio in South River. By Fri­day her per­for­mance had re­ceived thou­sands of hits on Face­book, climb­ing to over 40,000 views and nearly 1,100 shares over the week­end.

The song — writ­ten by Rob Hick­man of Gan­der — tells the touch­ing tale of an el­derly man, who when asked why he vis­its his wife is she no longer re­mem­bers him, an­swers, “I know who she is.”

Hick­man says he was blown away by Robyn’s mov­ing per­for­mance.

“It was an ab­so­lutely phe­nom­e­nal record­ing of some­thing I was so proud of,” he said. “I ex­pected it to be top notch and it ex­ceeded my ex­pec­ta­tions.”

Hick­man wrote the song a cou­ple of years ago based on a story he heard from a friend. When he wanted to have it recorded, he thought of Robyn. He and his wife live next door to Robyn’s fam­ily and he’d heard her sing at back­yard gath­er­ings and on YouTube.

With her par­ents’ per­mis­sion, he gave her the song and of­fered to pay all ex­penses for a record­ing ses­sion. She had a cold when she first sang it for him, but he says even then he “knew it was the best de­ci­sion I ever made.”

This was Robyn’s first time in a record­ing stu­dio and the fi­nal ver­sion of the song was her sec­ond take. She says, “I feel the mu­sic. I feel the words when I sing it.”

But how does a teenager bring such pas­sion to a song about an el­derly cou­ple?

Hick­man says: “When she sings, she sounds wise be­yond her years, like she’s lived more than she’s lived. She’s got a lot of heart and soul when she sings.”

Robyn — who’s been tak­ing voice lessons with Shawn Wise­man in Gan­der since she was nine years old — says Wise­man says she takes a song and “Robynizes” it and that’s what she did with this one.

Hick­man notes, “All the lyrics are the same but I said, ‘Now make it your own.’ She made some mi­nor al­ter­ations to the melody to suit her voice and she did a splen­did job.”

Robin comes from a mu­si­cal back­ground: her mother was a pi­ano teacher and her fa­ther plays gui­tar. She also learned about de­men­tia — and how it af­fects fam­i­lies — through her par­ents. Her mother Mar­garet is a nurse and her fa­ther Steve is re­cre­ation di­rec­tor at Lake­side Homes in Gan­der.

Mar­garet Slade says she’s her daugh­ter’s big­gest fan, but even she’s amazed by the re­ac­tion on so­cial me­dia.

“I’m just so proud of her,” she said. “And when I see the com­ments and the views and the shares, it’s just like, wow, I’m blown away.”

Robyn’s dream is pur­sue a ca­reer as a pop and coun­try singer.

Her mother says, “If this her pas­sion in life and what she wants to do, it’s a tough busi­ness to break into, but we’ll sup­port her 100 per cent.”

The song was pro­duced by Dave Fitz­patrick ( of Fa­bles fame) at his My Own Stu­dio. He played all in­stru­ments and did the back­ing vo­cals. He plans to in­clude the song on an up­com­ing com­pi­la­tion of new artists.

You can lis­ten to Robyn’s per­for­mance of “I Know Who She Is” at https:// www. youtube. com/watch?v=e5qPsiAzryA.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Robyn Slade sings “I Know Who She Is.”

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