A couple of years ago I did a social media workshop in the city. As interested as I was in learning more about social media and how to blitz Mr Zuckerberg’s Facebook algorithm, I was also interested to learn of the teacher’s other occupation as a song writer. John’s business, Romance Outsourced, sounded great for my annual gift guide which I was writing at the time. It’s always tough coming up with unique ideas and I could see this would be an ideal gift for music lovers with additional needs, who were also a challenge to buy for.
I haven’t heard from John since I let him know that I’d included Romance Outsourced in my gift guide so I was thrilled to receive an email from him last week and to learn that quite a few families had him write their loved one a song. There was also another great story John shared with me but I’ll pass over to him because I asked him to write a blog about his experience. Thanks John.
As you can tell by the business name, we started Romance Outsourced with the aim of writing custom songs for lovers – weddings, anniversaries, etc. What we quickly learned is that we don’t write songs for lovers but for love. A brother’s love for his sister, a mother’s love for her child. It was when Julie from HaveWheelchairWillTravel kindly included us in a recommended list of Christmas ideas for children with additional needs that we wrote our first song for someone with cerebral palsy and started to learn more about the community.
Whereas most of the romantic songs we write follow a similar formula, we have found that each and every song we do for children with additional needs is completely different, based off whom it is for! This provides a new challenge every time but also makes for the most fun and rewarding songs.
The best way to give you an idea is to show you a sample. The song below is called ‘Happy Christmas Cameron’. Cameron’s mum contacted us last November, asked us to write a song for her music-loving son and gave us the following information to turn into lyrics.
Tell us all about the person. What would you like included in the song?
- Cameron has severe cerebral palsy; he has favourite carers Helen, Lyndy, Glen.
- Likes footy and cricket and going for walks down the street, doing wheelies while listening to music (doesn’t like slow songs).
- Has a sister Kate and loves playing with his switch (communication device).
- Loves going to sleepovers (respite) to see carol, Tanya or Demelza and to pull carols pants off.
What do you love about them? What Funny Quirks have they got?
- Has a lovely smile and great sense of humour.
- Loves when people pop off (fart) and you say it smells.
- Thinks it’s funny when he pulls his headband off in the car and bites his arm.
- Thinks socks are funny or talking about pulling someone’s clothes off, or whether someone has a bra on.
- Likes it if you tell him to get someone’s shoulder, knee, foot, bum etc.
Tell us some funny stories/memories you have about them.
Playing hide and seek with his switch, put switch in funny places like oven, fridge, toilet, he thought it was hilarious, especially if recorded message is of Lyndy or Helen so I would say where’s Helen, omg cam, she is in the oven.
Anything else? Tell us what kind of a song you would like!
Upbeat if possible, he hates slow songs. Anything you think is gross he will love!
You can listen to the song here.
Cameron’s Mum sent John and email after they received the song which read, “We have had a ball with his song and I hope this will help you to make many other families have a happy moment in their hectic lives. Good luck. Carolyn”
Before starting Romance Outsourced Andy and I both had a background in education (Andy still works as a Year 8 Teacher in Adelaide) so we have always had a natural passion for entertaining kids as well as adults. However, writing these songs has opened up a whole new world. When making the songs, we were constantly amazed at the challenges each family has to overcome and more so how they have done it with love, a sense of practicality and also a sense of humour. It has inspired me to learn more about cerebral palsy and this most supportive of communities in general.
Thanks John, it’s great to hear the impact working with families has had on you and I’m sure they are grateful to have found such a unique gift.