“The thing has taken on a life of its own,” says singer-songwriter Tommy Byrne of his song, “Unstoppable: A Song for Autism” (see video below)
He originally posted the anthem, recorded with his 7-year-old goddaughter Isabella (whose 10-year-old brother, Anthony, has autism), on Facebook on Jan. 12. He and Isabella sing it together, harmonizing on the verses as well as the inspirational chorus:
We see the words in your smile
We see the joy right in your eyes
When something in your world goes wrong
Remember to stand up and be strong
Along with the video he included the message: “A song came to me last night. My cousin, Anthony, has autism; and I wrote it with him in mind. I couldn’t finish all the words, so I went to see my Goddaughter — and we finished it together. (She wrote some of the lyrics in crayon.) We hope you enjoy it!”
The video received close to 33,000 views through that post, and another 180,000 after being reposted, Jan. 18, by the Love What Matters organization. On that day, Byrne posted a version on YouTube as well. It has also been shared by other organizations, too, including Surfers Healing, The Autism Society of America, Autism Speaks and GodTube.
Byrne, who lives in Old Bridge, says he wants to make a studio recording of the song and release it in time for World Autism Day in April, possibly as a charity single for a “homegrown organization” that is looking to get involved.
“Someone commented this song could be the ‘We are the World’ for autism,” Byrne says. “That is the ultimate compliment a songwriter like myself could ever get.”
(April 2 Update: The studio version is now completed (see video below) and can be downloaded at unstoppableanthony.bandcamp.com/releases. According to the bandcamp page, “A portion of the proceeds will go towards a local New Jersey organization of our choice and help Anthony with his treatments.”)
Byrne says he believes one of the reasons the song is resonating with people is because Isabella is singing to her brother, who is autistic. He says she is aware of the response to the song, but adds that “I don’t know if she understands how much of an impact she’s made already for so many families with kids that are on the spectrum.”
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