Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Elton Sends His Love to Lily-Mae

It's been a hectic couple of weeks for everybody involved in Tiny Dancer: A Song For Lily-Mae. The charity single tops the Irish singles charts for the second week running. For Stephen Macken though, it's been a project that started with a devastating phone call in June of this year. Stephen is a close friend of Lily-Mae's parents Judith Sibley and Leighton Morrison, and the news that their four-year old daughter was suffering from Stage 4 Neuroblastoma, a rare and extremely aggressive childhood cancer of the nervous system, hit really hard with Stephen.

"I thought what's the best way that I can help these people. I'm not a doctor, I'm not a scientist or researcher so I can't do anything to medically help their child. But perhaps I could do something to create awareness, and thought of ways of getting media attention, so music was the first thing I thought of."

After a couple of weeks contacting various people who he'd got to know throughout his career in media and with his involvement in amateur music, Stephen had a choir of over 200 people including Paddy Casey, Declan O'Rourke, Mary Black, Mundy, John Spillane, Steve and Joe Wall, Camille O’Sullivan, Tom Dunne, Paddy McKenna, Adela and the Meanits, Gavin James, Sandra Dolan, Brian Flanagan, Frank Naughton, Sean Costello, Kian McSweeney, Gari Deegan, Richie Hayes, Conor Quinn, Sara Lou, Mickey Joe Harte, Aoife Scott, Laura Sheeran, Ashley Tubridy, The Pale, The Reverse, Kíla, Preacher’s Son, Arrow In The Sky, Naymedici, and from London’s West End, Rob Vickers.

The project has been gathering support from all over the country and abroad, but the news of Elton John's and Bernie Taupin's support has given the project a real lift ahead of the drive for that coveted Christmas No.1 spot.

"I had been in touch with Elton John's management company in the UK. And just on the off chance, I asked them that if Sir Elton was to even tweet his support for the project it would give us such a lift. 24 hours later Elton had tweeted and play listed the video. He also updated his Facebook and his website asking his fans to not only support the project but to also buy the single."

"Then next thing I saw a message on Youtube from Paca Thomas, who works on American Roots Radio with Bernie Taupin. The message was from Bernie who was lending her support to Lily-Mae. So emboldened by seeing that, I then sent a message to Paca Thomas asking if there was any chance of getting a video message from Bernie. The next thing I got a personal video message from Bernie to Lily-Mae. That was great."

"So I thought, well if I can get one from Bernie, then maybe Elton might do one too. Then on Thursday, the day before our Late Late Show appearance, I got an e-mail from Elton's management, and attached was a personal message from Elton john for Lily-Mae that we recorded in Hong Kong."

It's now a crucial period for the project and for their ambition to be Christmas No.1, as the X Factor winner's single is ready to hit the shelves this week.

"The worst possible thing happened last night: James arthur won the X Factor. The song is actually really good, it's poppy and it'd current. We want the Christmas No.1 because it's going to create even more media attention for Lily Mae, for Neuroblastoma, and for children suffering from this rare form of cancer. We're asking people to still buy James Arthur's single and support that UK based charity. But to please wait until after Christmas to do so."

- Hot Press

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