The past few years have been difficult for many, and with coronavirus still taking hold of our lives, adapting to a new way of working and living has been so important to many people. But, for me, this has continued to help me develop tremendously, not only as a writer but as a person. For me, the most significant achievement this year is continuing to find out who I am as a person and finding the strength to fall in love with every bit of who I am.
From a writer's perspective, 2021 truly began in February when I hosted a songwriting camp with Al Steele at Shabbey Road Studios in Caerphilly, where we were joined by Rob Sherwood and Clary Saddler, Andrew Clode and Mike Scott. Four different songs were written, and the standard of talent present was incredible, and considering some songs were written to briefs. Also, others were written just 'off the cuff'. The results and the songs that we created on that day were exceptional. I'm predicting that these songs, which are being pitched to music industry briefs, will get placements in the future, and I can't wait until they do!
Let's step backwards into 2020 for a second and to where we were most of the time in lockdown. We couldn't go out, so to pass the time, I then did a lot of writing, which was in the form of writing children's books. However, my first children's book 'Max And The Magic Wish' is about disability and acceptance. I intend to work hard and improve as a writer every step of the way, so I set upon writing something different, a magical adventure story, and I will touch more on this further into this blog.
Staying in the year 2020 for a little longer, this was when I did lots of songwriting collaborating, including with songwriter and producer, SUPERCOOL-GUY based in London, and with LARRY WHEELER, a lyricist and songwriter based in Lisbon. We back then wrote four songs, two of which I have written with SuperCool-Guy himself, and the other two, I have written with SuperCool-Guy and Larry Wheeler. So, fast-forwarding to September 2021, when SuperCool-Guy released his latest album called 'So That's How It Ended', and all four songs are included on it. These songs are called Darkness Of My Heart, Enchanted, No More Chasing you, which features Kelly Erez on vocals, and Party In The Sun. You can stream the entire album here:-
Back to 2021 again, and back to February when I hosted the songwriting camp at Shabbey Road Studios. Although we never got to collaborate on this occasion, Clary Saddler and I have kept in touch. Of course, we partially knew each other from years ago, but it hasn't been until now that our creative talents have intertwined. So, a little while after the songwriting camp, Clary and I started talking about finally collaborating, and this happened in the summer, where we decided to write a Christmas song. A few years ago, I wrote some festive lyrics called 'Unwrap You For Christmas.' So I sent them to Clary, and within a few days, we had written a Christmas song, resulting in us getting together with producer Lynise Esprit of Earl Lane Studios in Cardiff to create a fully produced festive piece. Clary and I then decided to release the single through Clary's distributor. The reaction, love and support we've received for the single has been flabbergasting, meaning the song has now had thousands of streams, and let's hope it continues to do so and become a festive favourite year on year.
So, back again to late 2020, where I was busy with writing children's stories too, and of course, one being 'Paddy The Polar Bear Teddy.' But, as you are all aware, this was just the start because then, throughout 2021, there was lots more work going on behind the scenes, including editing and structuring the story before I finished writing the last draft. I want to say this was the most rewarding bit of writing I have done to date, not because I now have a magical adventure children's book published in my name. On the contrary, it's become a significant part of my life, and to a certain degree, it has made me much more confident as a writer and a person. But, in the build-up to the publication of 'Paddy The Polar Bear Teddy,' and to coincide with its release, a few other 'special' things were happening. My father, my children's book publisher Clare of Lola and Co Publishing and I were interviewed by Lucy Owen of BBC Wales about my life living with cerebral palsy and my children's books. The interview was then aired across the different BBC platforms on Friday 3rd December as part of International Day of Disabled Person's, resulting in my first children's book, 'Max And The Magic Wish,' about disability and acceptance, becoming an Amazon Best Seller. But, for me, the most crucial part of all this was not becoming a bestselling author but having the opportunity to tell my true story and getting it shown on the biggest stage, educating others about disability and making a difference. This is what means the most to me. Both 'Max And The Magic Wish' and 'Paddy The Polar Bear Teddy are available on Amazon.
So, there you have it, that's my time trail of 2021 all in one blog. It has been the most rewarding year yet, and I can't wait to find out what the future holds for me as a writer. But, I vow to make a promise right now. That's never to give up, never to stop writing, and to do everything in my power to raise more awareness and educate others about the power of disability and that being different is acceptable and OK. There's just one last say now, and that's a MASSIVE THANK YOU to all of my co-writers for working with me throughout 2021, and I can't wait to work on many more projects with you all. Lastly, I want to especially say a big thank you to Clare Thomas of Lola and Co Publishing for believing in me as an author and making me believe more in myself. You are one in a million!
See you all in 2022!
Lots of love,