Voices Found: Stammerers collaborate on new mini album
"I'm fluent when I sing" says Matt
I had to come up with an idea for a project as part of my popular music course at Falmouth.
Music and stammering have been two hugely influential and defining factors in my life and so I wanted to merge them somehow.
I'm always fluent when singing. No one knows for certain why this is but I've often heard that of the brain, which is why some people with other disabilities such as Tourette's also find they can sing without their disability interrupting them.
My inspiration for an EP came when I read the story of Kyle Coleman in the Cornishman newspaper. He also finds it difficult to communicate, he had rarely spoken aloud, but found out he could sing and made a charity album in aid of autism, the condition he has.
I've found that there's a lack of understanding about stammering and what it's like to have one, so I decided to make my own awareness-raising recording.
The British Stammering Association kindly sent a call out via their social media pages, asking for interested musicians who stammer to contact me.
Adam Lovell, Brandon Marchant, Oli Cheadle and Ben James came forward. They each wrote, performed and produced their songs about stammering and then sent them for inclusion on the EP that we named Voices Found. Their songs are: Tell Me If You See This, Normal, Shaking the Rafters and Pathways, respectively.
Lyrics from the Voices Found EPThe song that I contributed to the project, Part of Me, expresses the problems stammering causes me in day to day life but is also an acceptance that stammering is part of who I am, hence the title.
And oh, time moves so slow in the moments when you wish the ground would open up and swallow you whole. It's more than just dumb luck how my words get stuck when I try to say my name...
Well the phone's got teeth and the sound of the ring gives me constant grief, but I don't care.
Could I squash that fear? Pick it up - let 'em know that I'm still here?
I'll sew a patchwork quilt from my shame and guilt and the fit can more than make do.
Tell me how it feels to be normal. I want to be normal too - and only normal will do.
(Normal by Brandon Marchant)
I had speech therapy sessions at school and took a two week intensive speech therapy course at the Michael Palin Centre in London when I was around 16. I tried many fluency techniques which they suggest, such as slow speech and sliding in and out of words, but nothing really seemed to stick.
The course was still a life changing experience , because for the first time I met other people my age who stammered. This made me realise I was not alone and I gained a lot of confidence.
Stammering can be extremely frustrating at times, causing feelings of isolation, depression and anxiety. Things that other people take for granted become a real problem, like talking on the phone and introducing yourself to new people.
I hope the album will show there's more to someone who stammers than what comes from their mouths, and I hope it will inspire others in the same situation, giving music they can relate to.
(As told to Emma Tracey)
All proceeds from Matt's EP are to be donated to the British Stammering Association.