‘We Are One’ No 1 on iTunes

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - TORIKA TOKALAU-CHAN­DRA

When Kane Chong asked his friend Con­nor what he thought of his song We Are One, Con­nor said he didn’t like it.

Quite a sur­pris­ing re­ac­tion es­pe­cially when the song, which hit No 1 on iTunes on Sun­day, was in­spired by Con­nor him­self.

But the silent fa­mil­iar­ity that passed be­tween the two Re­muera friends fol­low­ing that com­ment could only be un­der­stood by them alone.

We are One, writ­ten by Kane, was recorded in the hope of rais­ing more aware­ness about autism. To Kane, the song was a small ‘‘acorn of an idea just to put up on YouTube’’.

How­ever it caught the at­ten­tion of for­mer Split Enz mem­ber Mike Chunn and for­mer Ex­po­nents front­man Jor­dan Luck.

The track was recorded and mixed at Neil Finn’s Round­head Stu­dio in Eden Ter­race, where the likes of Kanye West and Crowded House have also recorded.

‘‘This self-as­sured kid walks in, un­fazed, and pre­sents me with a case for sup­port for what is es­sen­tially his school project,’’ Chunn says.

‘‘I was re­ally taken by his pas­sion and his en­thu­si­asm for record­ing and pro­mot­ing We Are One, so I’ve pulled some strings ...’’

Kane says he’s sur­prised the song has done as well as it has.

To Kane, Con­nor is spe­cial. Not be­cause he is af­fected by autism but be­cause they have been friends for as long as they both can re­mem­ber. Their fa­thers have been friends since they were 15 years old.

Kane, from ACG Par­nell Col­lege, and Con­nor, from Mt Roskill Gram­mar School, are both 16 and have birth­days just six weeks apart.

‘‘Con­nor has a weird sense of hu­mour, not a lot of peo­ple will know that about him un­less they took the time to get to know him,’’ Kane says.

‘‘Not a lot of peo­ple will know the in­flu­ence of liv­ing life with some­one with autism. I am truly hon­oured to know him, not just Con­nor but his fam­ily too - to see the bond peo­ple have over just one per­son.

‘‘Peo­ple tend to shy away from the topic of autism but this song was about open­ing up dis­cus­sions about it.

‘‘Money was never my in­ten­tion - I wanted peo­ple to un­der­stand autism. We tend to judge a per­son by how weirdly they do things but we never see the truth be­hind it, why a per­son acts a cer­tain way.’’

Kane says Con­nor is a fun, YouTube-lov­ing in­di­vid­ual that has helped him un­der­stand life bet­ter.

Kane hopes to now pur­sue a mu­sic ca­reer.

We are One can be down­loaded on iTunes.

PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Kane Chong, 16, is a mu­sic stu­dent at ACG Par­nell Col­lege.

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