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VIDEO - Gwithian singer Kyle set to soar after talent locked away for nearly 20 years

By West Briton  |  Posted: March 29, 2014

By Scott Hamilton

  • Kyle takes a walk at Gwithian with mum Caroline. Picture Jonathan Jacobs

  • Kyle has been "non-verbal" since a very early age. Picture Jonathan Jacobs

  • Kyle-03CROP

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Listen to singer Kyle Coleman’s single Standing on Solid Ground and you will hear echoes of the coolest of past and current bands, Eden Session favourites The XX among them.

Judged purely on its own merits this a stylish, understated but anthemic pop song that can measure itself confidently against any in the charts.

Then consider Kyle’s amazing story because while Kyle can definitely sing, that is only a recent development.

What is much more striking about Kyle is that he can’t speak.

The 27-year-old was diagnosed with classic autism aged two and has been “non-verbal” from a very young age.

Ever since Dustin Hoffman won an Oscar for his performance as the autistic Raymond Babbitt in Rainman, the understanding of autism as a disability has slowly increased.

Support is now out there and it is thanks to some of that support that Kyle, from Gwithian, near Camborne, can contemplate recording his own music and making a bid for chart history.

If he can get to number one in the UK music charts it will be a stunning achievement. And a world record.

Proud mum Caroline Coleman, said: “This will be the first time that a single has charted by a non-verbal person, and almost unbelievably also to our knowledge, by any person with a disability, so will definitely be history in the making.

“We need 3000 or so downloads between before April 6, 2014 to make it happen and give autism a bigger voice so that it can be better understood.”

Kyle, from Gwithian, who uses Green Light’s respite services in Portreath, needs 3,000 people to download his “Standing on Solid Ground” to achieve the coveted number one place in the chart.

He is launching his bid on Wednesday (April 2), World Autism Awareness Day, when there will be activities and social events taking place worldwide to celebrate and raise awareness of the disability.

While he still doesn’t speak, Kyle found his voice during music therapy a few years ago when his family discovered his natural musical ability to sing with an almost perfect pitch.

His mum said: “A therapist with the Cornwall Music Therapy Service started to teach Kyle.

“To our amazement we found that he had learnt the words from many of his favourite CDs, including ‘Monday, Monday’ by The Mamas and the Papas and he was able to play a melody on the keyboard.

“We had no idea this talent was locked inside Kyle. Bit by bit the therapist got him to be more vocal.”

In 2012, Kyle recorded his debut album, Therefore I Am, which was released to coincide with World Autism Awareness Day.

“His music has been downloaded by fans in Brazil, Canada, Poland, Italy, France, America and China,” said Caroline, who is hoping people in the UK will get behind his chart topping attempt.

Last year he started working with vocal coaches and acclaimed music producer John Carter recording his second album "Beyond the Syntax" which will be released next month.

The album features 12 tracks written especially for Kyle which touch on all aspects of autism including the communication difficulties encountered, and at times, the isolated world of living with autism.

Single Standing on Solid Ground is a powerful, uplifting song and is lyrically very poignant, and has been chosen as Kyle's debut single taken from his new album.

You can pre-order the tune here: http://goo.gl/GuAVx2

Caroline Coleman said: “Since Kyle undertook music therapy a few years ago, unlocking his astonishing singing ability, his musical journey continues to unfold providing him with a range of musical outlets, which has now led him to become part of a larger musical community. This has not only had a profound effect on Kyle, it has been life changing.”

Kyle regularly sings during his breaks away from home at Green Light’s respite home in Portreath.

Gemma Morris, who manages the house, said: “Kyle is brilliant. He sings throughout the day, it brings a calming influence, the staff and customers enjoy listening to him. He has a wide variety of skills and is such a joy to be around.”

Kyle recently performed at the British Association for Music Therapists conference in Birmingham and has been invited to take part in a pilot scheme, organised by Sound Waves South West, to take music therapy into schools across Cornwall to show how it can have positive outcomes for pupils who are struggling to fit in.

Caroline said: “Kyle’s interest in music has motivated him to learn to read. His anxiety levels have more than halved since he started singing. He now has a close friend and feels part of the community. He is making so many connections and enjoys performing to other groups within the autistic community.”

Find out more at http://kylecoleman.co.uk/

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