By Zach Collier
Brendon David Nielson has been a musician almost from the womb. When he was a toddler, he refused to eat his morning Cheerios unless his mother put on Bach’s Prelude No. 4. “He would scream ‘Bach, Bach’ until I turned it on and then he would eat,” she said in an interview with The Daily Herald in 2001.
This love of music followed Brendon as he grew older. It was September 11th, 2001, when a 7-year-old Brendon David Nielson watched the Twin Towers crumble on his television set in Lehi, UT. He immediately set about writing a song for the families of the victims. “I need to let all the victims know, you are loved, and I support you. I will help every way I can until this tragedy’s through,” he sang. His sensitivity to the suffering of others and genuine desire to help garnered him loving support. With the support of his mother and father, his simple song was tracked in a Salt Lake City studio, set to a string arrangement, pressed to CD, and distributed in just four days. The song was featured in the Deseret News and The Daily Herald.
In an age before social media, the song managed to comfort millions of Americans across the United States. “It literally has gone around the world,” Brendon’s father, David, said in 2001. “We’ve received e-mail from all over.” The money he raised from the song was donated to the Red Cross.
Brendon David Nielson is now 22 years old. An emerging artist out of Provo, Utah, his desire to elevate and lift others through music still remains. He continues to share his message of hope, only this time it’s in the face of a different tragedy: addiction.
“Addiction has claimed the lives of my friends and family, and I’m here to raise my fist in retaliation,” Nielson says. “My mother committed suicide because she was so ashamed about the addictions that she had, so I’m carrying this out in her name.”
His upcoming album will feature twelve songs: one for each of the twelve steps found in addiction recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. Nielson has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund his album.
“Even though we live in a dark world, there is hope, and we have the ability to change the things we don’t like about ourselves,” he says. “People need to understand that it’s okay to struggle. All of us actually do.”