INTERVIEW: Shawn Stockman And SevenFriday Team Up Again
The singer-songwriter tells us how SevenFriday came through for him.
You probably know Shawn Stockman (above) of Boyz II Men fame, but these days, the singer-songwriter is more invested in a charity he founded to raise funds for families affected by autism, a condition his son was diagnosed with.
Established together with his wife, Sharonda, Micah’s Voice is named after the couple’s son and aims to bring awareness about autism, as well as educate the public on the condition. It was a cause that resonated with SevenFriday’s founder, Daniel Niederer, who decided to collaborate on a project together. Here, Stockton shares more with us.
How did the collaboration with SevenFriday begin?
I have met Daniel before and I heard that he was in Los Angeles, so I made an arrangement to meet up with him to talk about a possible collaboration for Micah’s Voice. We had a chat and it didn’t take him long to be convinced. And here we are, on our second collaboration.
What is Micah’s Voice, and how did it all start?
My son Micah, who is 18 years old now, was born with autism and we wanted the best care and treatment for him. He is lucky because his parents can afford to give him the best, but there are a lot of families in America that cannot afford that care. Micah’s Voice is a charity set up to help kids and adults who need care. I saw a charity in the UK where a large estate was converted into a care centre for autistic children, where they have vast space and garden for them to connect with. I want something like that here in America.
When did you first realise your child was autistic?
It was my wife who first noticed it when he was just a few years old. She noticed that Micah would sometimes drift away and wasn’t listening to her, and she realised that something wasn’t right so we took him to seek professional help.
What was your initial reaction when you found out that Micah’s condition?
I would like to say that, like most family when discovering their child has autism, it was quite emotional and extremely devastating to the family, because you’ve never encountered anything like this to someone so close to you.
Like most parents, we cried and isolated ourselves from the rest of the world, as amidst the diagnosis, I still had to work and provide for the family. I tried my best to be strong. You just go through a lot of ups downs—an emotional rollercoaster. When you are in this situation, you feel like you are all by yourself, and no one can relate to what you are going through.
What was the most important thing you learnt during this journey?
Because of Micah, I got to meet a lot of empathetic people, like Daniel Niederer who wanted to help any way he could for the cause. He was very kind, generous, and agreed to help when he didn’t have to. This is an unpayable debt. At times like this, when you want to isolate yourself, what you really need is your friends, you really need is a support system. Someone who cares, even though they don’t understand. Through the trials and tribulations, I went through, I also came across people whom I would never meet under normal circumstances, and for that, I feel blessed.
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