Monday, May 9, 2011

Win a Brady Rymer CD!

* See the end of this post to learn how to WIN A FREE CD *

The first time I heard Brady Rymer's children's song, "Love Me For Who I Am," I got totally choked up. Ryan had been having a rough day, and I was at the point where all I could do was strap him into his car seat and drive around until he calmed down. I turned on Kids Place Live on my XM radio, and this song came on. It was so clearly speaking directly to me, from Ryan's point of view.
Please don't try to fix me,
Love me for who I am.
Please don't try to fix me,
Love me for who I am.
Well I may not talk the way you talk
But I got some things to say
So won't you listen up
Come on, let's talk
You're gonna be amazed.

Please don't try to fix me,
Love me for who I am.
Please don't try to fix me,
Love me for who I am.
Cuz I ain't no motor that won't turn over
You tow down to the station.
No, I'm alive inside
I'm filled with pride
Got a wild imagination.

Please don't try to fix me,
Love me for who I am.
Please don't try to fix me,
Love me for who I am.
Cuz I am who I am.
I later learned that this song, and its album, "Love Me For Who I Am - Songs Celebrating Children of all Abilities," was inspired by Rymer's work at Celebrate the Children, a school in New Jersey for kids with alternative learning styles. Many of the students at CTC are on the autism spectrum.

I asked Brady what brought him to Celebrate the Children School.

"About 10 years ago," he writes, "just as I was starting to play music for kids, Monica Osgood, my friend and the founder-director of the CTC school, invited me out to play for the kids at the summer camp. From that first show on, I loved the school, kids, and staff. They have always been so appreciative and full of unbridled energy! I've been playing a gig a year there ever since. Each visit gets better and better and after one particularly great one a few years ago, I mentioned that we should write these kids some songs - anthems! Songs for them and about their experiences. So here we are two years later."

Brady plays music for the students, but he's not a music teacher. He tries to treat the children with special needs as he would treat any other kids of the same age: with respect, and with an energetic performance. Sadly, this must not be the case with all children's musicians these students encounter. Brady says, "One of the boys even said to me after a show, 'Thank you for treating us like real kids!' I asked him if I could use that as a new title for another song, and he was thrilled!"

This album was inspired by kids with special needs, but Brady says he's gotten positive responses from all sorts of children.

"I make sure not to make a distinction when we play the material live. I think the music and lyrics speak to a very wide range of audience and it was designed to do exactly that. It's best for us to just play the songs and let the audience react how they will. With titles like 'Picky eater,' 'Keep Your Wiggle Alive,' 'Love Me for Who I Am,' and 'I Don't Like Change,' it's pretty easy for families to relate to these topics and to relive their own personal experiences."

A portion of the proceeds from "Love Me For Who I Am - Songs Celebrating Children of all Abilities" will benefit Celebrate The Children School, and an additional 5% will go to Autism Speaks. I asked Brady why he supports Autism Speaks (because as you know, I really want to like them), and he made as persuasive an argument as any I've heard:

"I love and appreciate the work that they do; the research & the community building is incredible. And when we were in the very early stages of the project we sat down with them to talk about ways that we could collaborate. They listened to the songs and immediately loved that they were high spirited, humorous, fun and shed a light on the world of a special needs person. They also recognized the celebratory nature of the music. They knew that kids & families would have so much fun with it and get something positive from it. The celebratory aspect of the project is important to stress, and I'm happy that AS wanted to partner with that message. Besides working with Celebrate the Children School, AS is perfect in helping us get this music into the lives of families who really appreciate & enjoy it."

Brady will be performing at a few of the upcoming walks that the various Autism Speaks chapters are organizing, including the one on June 5th in NYC.

One lucky Ryan Files reader will WIN A FREE CD! Here's how: go to the Ryan Files' Facebook page, Like it, and write "Love me for who I am!" on the wall. I'll pick a random entry on Wednesday 5/11 at noon Eastern time.

In the mean time, please check out the album - listen to tracks for free at

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I think it's an awesome CD, too :-)


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