HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — Creating a world-wide sensation music video that is sweet, compassionate but still loaded with an inspiring, tuneful message about courage would be a tough order for any adult.
But Hamilton’s 14-year-old Erika Scott makes it look easy.
Though the Hamilton Freshman School student is a tad shy off camera, her passion for helping others has her shining bright as she performs her hit song “Brave” to an increasingly global audience on YouTube and other Internet venues.
And she is no stranger to the spotlight, having already drawn wide attention as the lone female player on Hamilton West Side Little League’s regional champion in the national Little League World Series tournament and three state championship teams.
For a young teenager, Scott already has an impressive resume most adults would envy.
At age four she was featured on ESPN TV for throwing a strike at a Cincinnati Reds game.
She played piano at age 5 and then tackled the guitar and trumpet.
And she just finished her first music album, on which “Brave” is one of the tracks, with the help of a high-profile Los Angeles music producer. The proceeds are going to The Young and Brave Foundation, which fights youth cancer.
It’s easy to be dazzled by the talents radiating off this Renaissance teen but don’t let it distract you from her amazing heart.
It beats as her passion source and powers her desire not for fame but to help those who suffer.
Her close friend Kyleigh Wright died last year from a rare neurological disease, and in typical fashion, Scott decided to turn tragedy into a triumph of altruism.
“I wanted to find a way to help people,” Scott said of the video, which features local children and teen survivors of Chiari Malformation Type I, a neurological disease, many of them treated at Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center in Liberty Township, which features a Neurosurgery Fitzpatrick Chiari Research Foundation where donations can be made.
The professionally produced video, which includes scenes from Liberty Center’s elevated garden, patients at Children’s and other Butler County locations, highlights Scott’s strong lyrics urging those in the throes of illness to remain brave.
“I wanted people to see the (Chiari) patients with the (surgical) scars on their necks to see how it (treatment) helped them,” she said.
Scott sings her song, dances with others and playfully has paint poured on her head because painting is a connective touchstone with many of the young Chiari patients she has befriended at Children’s.
“They really enjoy painting so I though painting should be a theme in the video,” she said.
St. Xavier High School sophomore Jake Fitzpatrick is a Chiari survivor in a most extraordinary way.
Diagnosed when he was younger, doctors said he’d never be able to play sports.
It makes his recently completed season as a junior varsity cornerback on St. Xavier’s heralded football team all the more satisfying.
Fitzpatrick and Scott are friends. And making the video with her, said Fitzpatrick, was “a very fun experience” but also “a way to do stuff for charity, get things done and defeat the disease.”
Scott said reaction to the video has been “really overwhelming to me. I didn’t think it would mean so much to people.”
“People have been telling me I’m inspiring them and I’ve gotten messages on Facebook from grownups . saying my story was inspiring to them,” Scott said.
Hamilton Freshman School Principal Jeff Miller echoed Scott’s inspirational impact.
“The thing that really impresses me about Erika is the fact that music is only one part of who she is. I’ve known her best for her great academics and the fact that she is such a positive person in our school community,” Miller said. “Her compassion for others is as evident in her daily life as it is in the music that she writes.”
Music producer Brandon Blue Hamilton, who helped create Scott’s album entitled “5114” — for the number of days she had lived when her music was released publicly — said, “working with Erika has been a really unique experience. It’s a breath of fresh air to work with an artist whose ego is so uninvolved with a project.”
Her album is now available online at iTunes.
The Renaissance teen’s latest interest is volleyball and she hopes to excel at it enough to play in college.
If it comes down to a matter of courage — she will.
Little League field to music video: Hamilton teen’s music goes global
Information from: MIDDLETOWN: Hamilton-Middletown Journal News , http://www.journal-news.com
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