Logan teens with disabilities band together to make themselves heard by recording own album
They call themselves the King Stones after their home suburb in Logan — Kingston. Get it?
Like all teenagers, they love listening to music and they love mucking around with instruments.
But these teens from Logan, south of Brisbane, face a whole lot more than just the usual adolescent angst.
Aged from 17 to 19, the members of the King Stones all live with intellectual disabilities or other conditions, such as Tourette Syndrome or autism.
As individuals, they might normally find it hard to make any sort of loud statement, which is why they turned to song to express themselves, and their love for music has helped give them a much more positive outlook on their future lives.
With the help of two music teachers from The Endeavour Foundation, the King Stones have written four songs about their daily struggles.
“For too long, people have looked at individuals with disabilities and sort of just shut them out or put them in a corner,” teacher Kelvin Veaga said.
“There is a message in all of them, and they are dying for the world to hear what they have to say.”
‘This is who I am’
Evangel Atirai, 18, said performing on stage with the King Stones has boosted her confidence.
Evangel Atirai said singing showed people her true character. (Supplied: Endeavour Foundation)
“I love singing in the spotlight and being around people … it makes me feel fun,” she said.
“Singing is my happiest part [of life] — it shows people who I am and not what they want me to be.”
Her mother, Moe Aukusitino, said she had been worried about her daughter’s future when she graduated school in 2017, but that watching her perform with the King Stones had eased some of that concern.
“She has always been confident, but she is more confident in herself now and she has goals with King Stones,” Ms Aukusitino said.
“I am so happy, I am really proud of her.”
Cutting an album
The band intends to record four songs for their debut EP — Going Up, We’re the Band, Thank You and Christmas in Kingston.
Going Up is about not letting a disability get you down.
“The message is positive, believe in yourself — you can do it,” Mr Veaga said.
“Nick’s verse is he woke up this morning, he was feeling really depressed inside, overthinking what people were saying, made him feel really bad inside.
“The flip side of that, Evangel comes in and she is like the positive angel — she sings ‘you don’t have to worry, I will make you happy’.”
In We’re the Band, each member introduces him or herself, while Thank You is a message to all the parents thanking them for their time and patience, and Christmas in Kingston is a carol about a homeless man living on the streets of their home town.
The band writes its songs as a group, with each member contributing ideas for different verses.
“I strummed a three-chord progression and then I said take me there, what does this look like?” Mr Veaga said.
“Some of them will go, ‘oh it sounds a bit sad’. I’m like, ‘OK then, how sad? Tell me a sad story’.”
The King Stones EP will be made available via music streaming services next year.