Raymond and Ryan Larmour, Cookstown, Northern Ireland – This is part 2 of our interview with Raymond. Part 1 can be found here.
While talking to Raymond he explained to us that he likes to walk around the mountain where they live in Cookstown and that one day while out walking he thought of how Ryan is perceived in different ways by different people and that indeed we are all different. This thought then became the inspiration for the second song ‘We’re All Different’ and Ryan’s rap name of W.A.D was born.
During the song writing process for ‘We’re All Different’, Emma asked Raymond for help in writing the song and this became the first song that he collaborated on. The video for We’re All Different was recorded by Manor Park Studio and filmed by Benburg Productions as is Ryan’s new song Worlds Apart.
The song and video proved to be hugely successful and to date; ‘We’re All Different’ has had over 58.000 views on YouTube. This was released in Nov 2012. What is also remarkable is that the song raised £4,277 for the National Autistic Society Northern Ireland (NAS).
Raymond told of how they knocked on people’s doors to sell their DVD as well as approaching schools and local shops. Over 1000 DVDs were sold.
During our conversation with Raymond it was very apparent just how proud he is of Ryan and of all that he has achieved.
“It’s all about achievement for Ryan and self-worth. Once he’s in the studio he loves it. Ryan wants to inspire others and for them to think, I can do that too.”
In December 2013 the third song was released, ‘Worlds Apart’ that Raymond wrote with Ryan. He explained that the whole writing process took over 6 months and that every line when written was checked with and agreed by Ryan, he had final approval. The song writing process was a true working collaboration.
Raymond sought inspiration for the song from what he saw on autism sites around the world as well as gaining inspiration from Ryan and would think about experiences and ideas while out walking.
Raymond told that:
“This song was personal to Ryan, how he feels about his condition”
Raymond then went on to further explain how Ryan sometimes struggles with rejection.
“He wants to meet and socialise with other teenagers.”
Raymond explained that Ryan is struggling at the moment, struggling to fit into a world and a society that does not understand him. Raymond told that his son is craving to associate and mix with other young people. However when he does try to communicate with other people they do not know how to respond to him and will often only say a few words and then move quietly away.
Ray explained that because Ryan is high functioning he is so very aware of this rejection and can see it hurts him deeply. Ray told of how it’s a worry:
“Some days you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, but most days thankfully you can.”
Raymond also explained just how vulnerable Ryan is, and that he would not understand or be able to read peoples true intentions:
“Ryan feels that he is being treated differently, that life is not fair and that people who are in the system think like robots and are hypocrites, he feels that they are belittling him and it is just a job to them, they don’t understand him.”
He further adds:
“He feels so isolated”
Ryan has also poignantly told his parents that:
” If only the world could feel his pain then maybe they would better understand him”
However Raymond wanted to reiterate that these moments of feeling rejected are seldom and that most of the time Ryan is happy and displays his brilliant sense of humour. These feelings though are what have helped fuel the lyrics and ideas for his songs; they have been channelled into making a positive change.
Sadly though Ryan does struggle to fit in, Raymond explains how he and his wife Ann are strong for Ryan and that they do worry about him when he is low and has negative feelings. They worry as he gets older and that trying to get help for him is very difficult, however once again he says that the low days are not often, adding:
“Most days are brilliant and we as Ryan’s parents are better people for having him as our son.
“When people meet him they find him interesting, intelligent and funny.”
Ryan’s songs are uplifting and send out a positive message to the world. Raymond hopes that the songs give hope to many people out there, both to individuals on the spectrum and those that care for them.
Raymond also shared openly with us about how he gains strength from Ryan.
“He makes you more understanding of other people and what they are going through.”
Raymond ended by telling us that more education and training is needed about autism.
“People need to be more sensitive and understanding, not just to the individual but to the family, they need to understand how it affects family and your life.”
Raymond is not sure what will happen next regarding the song making, he simply told us:
“We shall wait and see.”
We will leave you with these final words, taken from the video ‘Worlds Apart’
“Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead
Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow
Just walk beside me and be my friend”
We would very much like to thank Raymond for taking the time to chat with us and we wish Ryan huge success for the future.
You can watch the video for ‘Worlds Apart’ below. Please share and let’s help spread autism awareness and acceptance.