AAM: Love Me for Who I Am CD #Autism Review

I had the opportunity to check out a brand new children's CD by Brady Rymer, Love Me for Who I Am, that could soon be sweeping the nation!  What I love about it is that all of the songs are about kids with Autism, but they aren't just about that - even typical kids find themselves either being a picky eater or knowing someone who is, or who just can't sit still and need to wiggle all day, right?

There are ten songs on the CD, all written with kids with Autism in mind.  All ten are great to listen to, sing along to and have a message to deliver about 'children of all abilities'.  Once you start to play the CD you forget that the songs are about any one particular group of children and just get swept up in the fun lyrics, catchy tunes and fabulous messages that are delivered in each of the ten songs.  You can check out all of the songs on Brady's website - www.bradyrymer.com, but here's a youtube video of one of my favorite tracks:

Isn't it just so catchy and cool!  It really transcends from a song about kids with disAbilities to one that should be an anthem in every child's mind!   There are some songs with a rock influence, others have a more bluesy overtone, but all of them just stick in your mind and Liam has already started singing along with the CD after less than a week!

I had a chance to ask Brady Rymer a few questions about making the CD and about himself:

This CD sounds like it was fun to put together - what did you like best about it?

There are a few things,including working with my buddy and longtime music collaborator, Dan Myers. We recorded a large portion of the CD by ourselves, just two of us having fun playing instruments, singing and fooling around! We haven’t done a record like this in a while and it was fun being that intimatespontaneous and inside of the songs. I'm glad to hear that our playfulness came through. The other moving aspect of this project was getting kids' reactions to the songs that they helped inspireThe kids gave us some titles and phrases and we were able to write a song around their idea & record it. The kids then gave it a listen and were thrilled by the final outcome. This was such a unique process and one I've never experienced before. Some of the kids were over the moon to hear their idea worked into a rock 'n' roll song with all this musical stuff goin' on.  It was so cool!

How is writing for and about kids on the spectrum the same and different than writing songs for kids in general?

I wanted to try and do what I always do - write from a personal experience - about something that I know about- something I feel. I knew a lot of these kids and  have performed at their school many times so I tried to bring that energy and spirit into the writing process. I also tried to write about experiences that were personal to me and my family. I really think that these songs can cross over and be a bridge of sorts, with kids on and off the spectrum enjoying them.  That was a goal: to make the music entertaining and enjoyable for all listeners. That's something that doesn’t change for me, album to album, no matter who I'm writing for or writingabout.

What surprised you most about the project? 

I started this project differently than I have with other albums. I received song titles and suggestions from Monica Osgood, the founder of Celebrate the Children School (a school in New Jersey that works with kids with autism, Asperger's Syndrome and other disorders). One evening after performing at the school, I sat down with my list of song titles. I was incredibly surprised by how easily the songs just kinda popped out! One after another - going right down the line - musical and lyrical ideas kept flowing. Each tune had a different character & mood. It was so much fun working this way, and when they come all in a bunch like that they tend be more varied. It's kind of like the whole blueprint of the record appearing at one sitting. Surprise!!

 Do you have a favorite song?  What is it? 

"I Don’t Like Change" is my current fav. I love the energy & the background vocals! It's modeled after gospel music, embodying that frenzy, fervor, passion & spirit. I've never written or recorded a song like this before and Ibelieve it has the quickest tempo of any song I written. Practicing it has been completely crazy-fun and I can’t wait to try it out live - it should really get people goin'…  My band really enjoys playing it. they like playin' anything fast!

Autism Speaks is a great organization, how did you get involved with them? 

Monica Osgood from CTC arranged out initial meeting. We have always planned on donating part of the proceeds of this project to CTC. I 've developed a really great relationship with the staff and kids at this school, and I wanted this project to give back to them. Without them, it would not be what it is. But we also wanted to give in a little bit bigger way - to an organization with a broader outreach and Autism Speaks seemed like the perfectplace for us. I'm looking forward to our relationship together.

Tell us about the Celebrate the Children School and your work there. 

I started there more than 10 yrs ago. I knew Monica, thefounder/director, and she suggested one day that I bring out my guitar and sing for the kids. I did, they loved it and we took it from there. Every year now, I've performed at least one concert.  Tey play the CD's in the classrooms, so the kids really know my material.  Because they're so familiar with the songs and with me, the concerts have become such amazing events - anticipated, exhilarating for everyone, and so, so special! I've been to a lot of schools and I have to say the love, support and friendship between the students and staff at CTC is the most amazing I've ever seen. And when that's the groundwork, their happiness is contagious.  They are so appreciative and excited to see me and be at the concerts! I'm just happy to be able to contribute my music and energy and get everyone up and rockin' now & then!  

A few personal quiestions:
What are your plans for the summer? 

Lots of gigs! We get to do some traveling. The Little Band and I are playing out in Californiaand hopefully touring up the coast to Oregon and the Washington areas.  I also hope to get down to Georgia to visit my dad andbrother. We fish and play golf - the Rymers are in desperate need of a family vacation!

If you could invite anyone over to dinner, who would you have and why? 

Wow! What fun! Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band! I like big dinner parties!! Bruce has always been an idol of mine. I love his energy, his longevity in the businesshis creativityHis concerts are epic and he just seems like a great guy! We could talk about our shared NJ roots! But most importantly,  my wife has a big crush on him! I'd have to invite his band - I mean, what's dinner soiree without a rockin' dance party afterwards? But this is such a fun question, that at the next dinner party I would invite: the Dalai Lama, Albert Einstein, Cleopatra, Steve Martin, Aristotle, my great great Grandma Sadie, the head of the CIA, Leonardo DaVinci, Mick & Keith and the Obamas.

When you're not making music, what do you enjoy doing? 

Exercising - I like the gym… wait, I hate the gym… no, I like the gym… I wish I could be part of some baseball/softball league - I played when I was young, and I miss playing!! I just don't have the time right now, so going to the gym keeps me sane.

What would people be surprised to know about you? 

I'm a nervous cook!  Play for a few 100 or 1,000 people, no problem, but put dinner on the table for my wife and  kids, forget-about-it! have to stir things… set timers… read and re-read recipes… set more timers…  Funny thing is is that I'm not too shabby of a chef. All that nervous energy somehow results in some pretty tasty dishes.


The album drops April 12th, but you can reserve your copy on Amazon.com for just $14.18 or get it on iTunes download! What I think is one of the best things about the CD is that proceeds from the sale of the album and the iTunes downloads is that 5% of the sales are going to Autism Speaks!