Colin Brennan – a story of autism and awesomeness!

Pro Photos Colin at 2015 AAV“I really enjoy singing and making people feel good inside!”

Here at Torchlight Talent we are especially inspired by talented young artists who overcome adversity with their art. By these standards, Colin Brennan’s story is the definition of inspiration!

Colin was first featured on Torchlight Talent (as Rivenmaster’s Place) when he was only 8 years old and was already tearing up the music scene in Canada! Check out that article here.

A blossoming career

Colin in choir

Colin’s dad sent me a staggering list of his now 13-year-old son’s achievements since then. Among them: singing a duet with singer/songwriter Justin Hines at the Joshua Creek Heritage Art Centre in Oakville, Ontario, being ranked in the Top 16 out of 4000 other children in the Next Star TV competition, and performing at ‘The Genius of Autism’ event in Times Square just one block off Broadway, New York, at the Historic Edison Ballroom. This is just a sample! Colin sings all the time in a range of styles and and to a vast variety of audiences. 

In Colin’s own words:

“I like music and singing because it is my life.”

Dad and Colin in NYC 2012Colin’s achievements are a testament to the power to transform lives and give motivation and purpose in situations which might otherwise have been characterised by frustration and helplessness. That said, music is a only a tool – a beautiful and powerful tool – but a tool nonetheless. It is the courage and passion of people like Colin and his family that are the essential ingredient in unleashing this untold potential.

Living with autism

I personally found myself deeply moved reading Colin’s story as an important part of my own professional work is using music in working with children and adults with severe and complex needs. I can recount many joyful experiences where non-verbal children have felt empowered to communicate through rhythm or paralysed children have been able to use their voices to join in music making. There have also been some bitter sweet moments like giving a terminally ill boy his last concert.

Colin as Andrew in Pigment cast pageHowever, far from viewing his autism as a disability, Colin embraces it wholeheartedly! He even views it as a gift, recognising that, despite the challenges, he is also blessed with some amazing abilities:

“Just before I sing at any event, I visualize what I am going to do in my head and then I get very excited just before I actually sing because I know what I am going to do, I know how I am going to sing everything. By the way, I want you to know also that I never get nervous before I sing. It doesn’t matter how many people I sing to, 1 or 10,000 I never get nervous. I get excited, yes, but not nervous. It’s because I really enjoy singing and making people feel good inside!”

I would add to this that Colin also has perfect pitch and has the ability to work for long hours when recording without losing focus. In his Resume we read:

The owner of the River 16 Studio (Rob Lackie) was so impressed at how easy it was to work many long hours with Colin during his studio recording times. “He’s no Diva” he said, and “believe me I’ve met my fair share of Divas in this business!”

Onwards and upwards

Colin with his medalsColin’s recent significant events have been performing in the Spring Concert at his church, Walton United, singing with his Youth Choir, singing for his Provincial Premier, Kathleen Wynne, and singing to Mayor Hazel McCallion.

Colin has also and sung with the amazing young Canadian singing sensation Johnny “O” (Orlando.) who is fast becoming a global hit. Other events include singing for Dr. Temple Grandin in Chicago, singing at The Oakville Prayer Breakfast, (700+ people), singing at The All Stars Award Gala, and singing at The Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association (ORMTA)… the list goes on!

Colin and JohnnyO

Colin has been a vocal student for three years at the Cross Vocal Academy with an amazing vocal coach called Gregory Cross. Gregory is exploring many singing techniques with Colin and introducing him to many new genres of music. Mr. Cross appeared as M. Firmin in the award winning Toronto production of Phantom of the Opera and on London’s West End in Miss Saigon and has over 38 years experience as a professional vocalist.

Ultimately, Colin also aspires to be a professional singer and is already acutely aware of the practicalities of being a professional musician!

“I have already been paid money for some of my performances, and I hope that when I am married with my own family, I will be able to still be paid to sing!”

As a working musician, I can assure you, Colin, that you are not alone in that hope! Seriously though, you have the dedication, the skills and, most importantly, the passion which are the beginning of a long and exciting career.

Colin is currently fundraising for his upcoming trip to London, England to sing on stage at The Mermaid Theatre for May 7th, 2016. The Host who invited him to sing is paying for all the Hotel costs but Colin has to pay for the flight. Please consider supporting Colin through his

Go Fund Me account

Colin with his albums

As always, your encouragement goes a long way. Please follow and support Colin through his social media:

Youtube

Official Facebook 

Colin’s Website 

Gaitway Brothers – an inspiring true story

Gaitway-Brothers-before-and-afterLife is full of tragic and touching stories. Peter and Steven Gait – the Scottish twin singers better known as the Gaitway Brothers – have just turned 15-years-old. At this time of year, we often find ourselves looking back with amazement at how much we have achieved and with nostalgia at how much has changed.

It has been my privilege to work with the boys since they were 10-years-old and to share, not only in their musical journey, but also in that dangerous adventure that every adolescent boy must take: their journey to manhood.  

Gaitway-Brothers

Though every boy must rise to this challenge, it cannot be overstated how difficult if can be. The Gaitway Brothers are no stranger to tragedy and perhaps this gives some of their music it’s unique pathos which fans often describe. I asked Steven and Peter to share personally a little about themselves:

Steven

Gaitway-Brothers-StevenI was born in Scotland and I live Helensburgh. A lot of our songs are old traditional music and it’s written by Matthew or people we work with. 

A big struggle for me was my Dad passed away when I was 9. My Papa and Nana give me the strength to persevere because they are really supportive of me. 


My advice to other young people trying to succeed in music is try hard, don’t give up don’t listen to all the people that make fun of you or say you can’t do it. 

Please keep supporting us b sharing our videos and tell people to ‘like’ us, follow us etc. Thank you so much for all you do. I want to give special thanks to Matthew Todd, Phil Todd, Nathan my Papa, Mum and Nana”

Gaitway-Brothers-With-You-2

Peter

Gaitway-Brothers-Peter-ninja

I was born in the Vale of Leven in Alexandria which is in in Scotland and I live in Helensburgh. My biggest musical inspiration is Matthew Todd, our manager and our friend.

We sing lots of traditional Scottish music and have other songs about God. Some of the songs we have sung are written by Matthew Todd and we do covers of other songs like ‘Human’ by the Killers.

Our Dad passed away when we were 9. It was hard and was a dark time for me. My Nana and Papa help me carry on because they encourage me and are very supportive, and my Mum as well.

My ambition is to learn Japanese and to achieve higher in all the subjects I choose at school and advance higher in some too.  I want to go to university and go to Japan and go to the Pokémon store and theme park.

My advice to other young people would be to try as hard as possible, believe in yourself and stick to it and practice.

Please keep on watching our music videos on youtube and subscribe to us and go to our website www.gaitwaybrothers.com

A special thank you to Matthew Todd, Phillip Todd, Nathan Todd, Mum, Nana, Papa and all our fans and the people who have helped in our music videos.

Keep following us :)”

 

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