Woman’s heart­felt hit leads to a shed tear or two

The Press and Journal (Inverness) - - FEATURES - BY DAVID MACKAY

A Mo­ray mu­si­cian who records songs in her shed has fin­ished in the top 10 of an in­ter­na­tional song­writ­ing com­pe­ti­tion.

Abi Roo­ley-Towle’s heart­felt com­po­si­tion, en­ti­tled When a Child Stands Alone, was in­spired by the tragedy of chil­dren flee­ing Syria without their par­ents.

The song was ranked above hun­dreds of oth­ers to come sixth in World Cit­i­zen Artists’s hu­man­i­tar­ian arts com­pe­ti­tion.

The 46-year-old, who lives near Alves, de­cided to write about the cri­sis last year after hear­ing about the amount of young­sters in France.

She said: “I heard about the chil­dren among the refugees in Calais. There were so many of them.

“At that point nearly 30,000 of them had been aban­doned with no mum or dad – some as young as three months old. A lot of them have van­ished now.

“I have two sons my­self and it hor­ri­fied me. I couldn’t stop think­ing about it all day long and this song be­gan to per­co­late in my head.

“I just wrote it straight out. I was just so moved by what I had heard.”

The emo­tional song moves the lis­tener by in­clud­ing an elec­tric gui­tar that ap­pears to sob through the lyrics.

Mrs Roo­ley-Towle is a self­em­ployed mu­sic in­struc­tor and teaches singing and the recorder from home.

The folk mu­si­cian has been work­ing with pro­duc­ers in Canada and Amer­ica over the last four years in an ef­fort to start a ca­reer as a pro­fes­sional per­former.

After send­ing a record­ing of When a Child Stands Alone to her men­tors, they en­cour­aged her to put it for­ward for the com­pe­ti­tion, which has raised money for char­i­ties work­ing with chil­dren in Africa and South Amer­ica.

She was stunned to dis­cover her emo­tional words were placed sixth by the in­ter­na­tional judg­ing panel.

She said: “I couldn’t be­lieve it. I was de­lighted and thrilled as it was also my first online ex­po­sure of my work. It couldn’t be more mean­ing­ful for me as my great­est wish is to use my work to pro­mote pos­i­tive change.

“When I saw most of the other en­trants were pro­fes­sional per­form­ers who go on tours I was stunned. I record the songs in my shed. The judges didn’t know any­thing about me so it was amaz­ing recog­ni­tion.”

Mrs Roo­ley-Towle has won praise for the way her thought-pro­vok­ing lyrics cre­ate im­ages in the lis­tener’s head.

Now she is hop­ing to use the boost of the com­pe­ti­tion to kick-start her ef­forts to start a ca­reer in the mu­sic in­dus­try.

She said: “It’s been dif­fi­cult be­cause I don’t fit into many boxes. I’m a folky per­former but I wouldn’t re­ally say I fit a genre, I try to write in a range of styles. My songs also tend to be longer than what you would hear on the ra­dio.

“Be­ing a mu­si­cian in this part of the world has its own chal­lenges too. You need to be quite re­source­ful and do things off your own back.

“I love mu­sic though and I love teach­ing it, es­pe­cially to the younger ones. It’s been a long road to get here but I’m go­ing to keep go­ing.”

Mu­si­cian Abi Roo­ley-Towle is de­lighted with her suc­cess

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.