Where do I begin?…
For a start, I’m not gonna lie… I’ve never really been a fan of daytime television, nor have I watched Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan doing their thing on ‘Live! with Kelly and Michael’ before. But I am fully aware of the popularity of the show. When I was alerted to the fact that someone had decided to use my track ‘Closing Doors’ on a piece about a teacher from Katy, Texas I was intrigued. But I could never have imagined how my song would pair so well with such an amazing story.
Watching the piece filled me with so much pride. Coming from Ireland and living in New York, its hard to imagine life in Texas. Its a different world down there. When I watched the piece on Suzette Steward, now officially crowned Americas Top Teacher, I got a sense of the kind of person she is- an honest, kind, inspiring, passionate and giving lady. I watched in complete admiration, with the hairs standing on the back of my neck. Suzette is a special needs teacher, and an expert on Autism and those affected by the disorder. Having never spent time with Autistic children or adults myself, the piece was not just very moving, it was also informative.
When the clip aired word filtered through to me that I had some fans down in Texas, and when I was invited down to play a show for Suzette and her kids I jumped at the chance! I was accompanied by Marco, a producer from the show, and the very man who paired my song with Suzettes story. On friday night we relaxed and sampled some amazing authentic Mexican food. Saturday was when the fun really started. Up early we helped Suzette prepare for a huge party on the edge of a lake… and for dinner? Texas BBQ of course. My mouth was watering when we turned up to the site and I could smell all the meat which had been smoked since 3am!
With around 150 people in attendance, including teachers from Suzettes school, students, parents and neighbors, I got to witness first hand Suzette doing her thing. Her patience was unrelenting. Her energy was breathtaking, and as the sun began to get cooler in the sky, I geared up to play a few songs. Starting with ‘Training Up My Soul’, I cant even describe the emotions that I felt watching one kid named Hunter dance along to my music. ‘Closing Doors’ was of course the highlight, and there was only one woman that I could dedicate it to – you guessed it, everyones favorite lady, Suzette.
Coming back to New York last night I was exhausted, but I couldn’t have been happier with my weekend. The warm welcome in Texas was overwhelming. Marco has captured plenty of footage on his camera, so hopefully when we piece it all together you can all get a sense of how we felt. Closing Doors has always been my New York song, but now it will always make me think of Texas.
Next Show – April 28th 8pm @ Rockwood Music Hall