Shine by Dian Buckley
I’ve been in Los Angeles for the sum of 11 weeks and 3 days today, and came on a mission, firstly a journey following my heart and not my logic and secondly to launch a music empowerment project I created called “Shine”, a project close to my heart which empowers children/young adults from 12-20 who have a gift in music but something in their way – Special Need, Physical Illness, Lack of Confidence or Disadvantaged Background, a 3 month programme (Personal Journey) culminating in a show (“Shine”), where they get to perform in front of a handpicked audience they’ve always wanted to “Shine” in front of. The ultimate goal is for each participant to get their own personal worth, through to the difference they make in their own communities and the world by utilising and showing off their gift in Music.
Let me take you back – 2 and a half years ago, I was a frustrated and scared Singer/Songwriter, and a Performing Arts Teacher for Autistic/Aspergers children aged 5-20 years. I had dealt with the death of my parents, lacked confidence and had a sense of being a “spectator” in my life not a “player”. Then I had this epiphany in September 2010 of what do I really want –in this moment in time, and 2 things came up – to teach in Africa and the other, to win a Grammy for writing and singing a song for a film that would make a difference in the world. So first, I arranged and went on a trip to Ghana at the end of 2010, where I taught singing – in orphanages, schools, churches – you name it, I’d make an appearance. My nickname from the local family I spent time with, was “Princess”, after the late “Lady Diana”, as soon as I walked into their courtyard, they’d shout it out. One of my most humbling and precious moments, was singing with them all underneath the stars and nothing but an old mobile phone for backing.
Now the Grammy part, after advice from a friend “if you’re serious about this, go to the place where it can happen – Movieland – Los Angeles” and then from another bossy friend “and stop hiding, make sure you video your trip – so everyone can see what you’re up to”. (As you can see I’ve got a lot of straight talking mates).
Given this advice, no money in the bank, no clue about LA and knowing no one there – of course, I booked a trip in April 2011 to LA LA Land. I spent 2 weeks, filming myself, and everyone I met along the way from the one and only “Eileen Lee at Brits in LA Brekkie at Cecconis” to my porter at “The Grafton Hotel”, where I was staying, all the way to interviewing a Las Vegas Casino Manager at “Paris”, where I visited and weirdly enough only spent about 5 minutes gambling. And, came back from my trip with an idea for a show to link my love of Music with my love of People, hence “Shine” was born.
So, for the past 18 months – I’ve worked on “Shine” in the UK and it was launched successfully in both London and Brighton. It has taken on many guises over this time period – from launching up and coming singer/songwriters to what it is today – “Unleashing the Undiscovered Gifted”. Finding young people aged 12-20, who have a special gift in Music (Singing or Singing/Songwriting), but something in their way – a Special Need, Physical Illness, Lack of Confidence or Disadvantaged Background. And through a 3 month process enable each participant to get their own personal worth, through to the difference they make in their own communities and the world.
So what actually is “Shine”? So, over a 3 month period, we create a musical show together (the songs are written by myself and other up and coming singer/songwriters) linked with some popular songs and the common theme/link is created by the “Shine” participants. Obviously hand in hand with this is to coach each participant around what is in their way, and work on their vocals/performance skills. We then go out into the community and perform extracts of the show on radio, hospices, or wherever will make a difference. And then the final show is performed to an audience comprised of everyone the participants have ever wanted to Shine in front of, but not been able to before. It really is a celebration of life, and as one of my girls (Laura Hobson – 15 year old Singer/Songwriter)from the previous “Shine” show in the UK told me – “Being on Shine changed my life – now I know what I really want to do and now know I can do it”!
What I love about this whole journey is each “Shine” participant is in charge. They choose where they want to go into the community to perform, right up to the audience for the final performance through to what they want to wear. They own every moment. That’s the triumph.
So 2 years on and with many challenges (sleeping on friends’ couches, beds and airbeds, leaving a job of 7 years and selling my beautiful electric blue VW Beetle and piano to raise my visa funds) I’m here to launch “Shine” in schools around LA and possibly the whole ofAmerica. And the bigger vision to have “Shine” be a worldwide franchise.
So now what – I’ve just been offered a venue in LA for me to launch “Shine” at, which is so exciting. And am now beginning to create the process and would love your help – in 3 ways. If you know of anyone who fits the criteria to participate in “Shine”, AND/OR if you or your business can financially sponsor one child/young adult to be part of “Shine” AND/OR you would like to volunteer to help or be part of some or all of “Shine” – please contact me at HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" email@example.com.
Every day I wake up now, and really do have a smile on my face – cos I’m living a life I love, not hoping one day, some day – I’ll be discovered or something will happen miraculously. “Shine” has taken a life of its own, and whatever happens – I’m definitely playing
For more information about what I do and “Shine” (Including “Shine” promotional video), please go to my website – www.dianbuckley.com