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Thursday, 5 November 2009

Welcome To Scatland

"Everyone is born to compete as he chooses, but how can someone win if winning means that someone loses?"
Scatman's World - Scatman John

I'm in bed now because my ear infection didn't get much better. I went to the doc in the morning and he switched me to a so called $100-a-box antibiotics from Bayer labs. The pain has gone down now, I hope it's the antibiotics and NOT the painkillers.

I was YouTubing some stuff yesterday night, and I came across another unique talent in the world that again, can't be replaced by anyone.

That Charlie Chaplin dude you see up there is none other than John Paul Larkin. His close friends and family called him John Larkin, but to the rest of the world, he was known as Scatman John.

You've probably heard the song that I have quoted up there. His ability to scat is so good and spontaneous that he could turn any song towards his style. But the history behind the mouth he has is deeper than you think.

Since childhood he was diagnosed with a severe stammer. He couldn't speak properly. The trouble brought him an emotionally turbulent childhood. His difference set him apart from the rest of the world. He came across scat singing at the age of 14, but he didn't pick it up too much. Instead he became a professional jazz pianist and took to pubs for a living. He found the piano as a way to compensate for his stuttering mouth.

He released a self-titled jazz album entitled "John Larkin" in 1986. It didn't seem to sell well but today, an original copy of that album is deemed extremely rare and fans will pay through the nose to get it. At that time, alcoholism and drug abuse got the better of his wife. He remarried a recovering alcoholic and she inspired him to make something out of his talent. He feared that the world would know that he stutters so his wife told him something that we all could use as a piece of advice.

She told him to open it up. Talk about it openly to the world. Thus the single "Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Bop)," was born. It was to inspire stammering kids to not let their disabilities put a limit on their life. He then adopted the name Scatman John.

He achieved worldwide fame in 1995, at the whopping age of 52. He made the Europe Top Singles chart with his renowned single "Scatman's World". His third album "Everybody Jam", however, didn't receive the same pickup. He took it to Japan, where he became an idol to the people there.

In 1999, he released his final album "Take Your Time". He battled with illness since 1998 and struggled to finish the album. Shortly after the release he was diagnosed with lung cancer and was admitted to intensive care. He was positive throughout. He told people that "Whatever God wants is fine by me."

On the 3rd of December 1999 at age 56 and only 28 days to the new millennium, he passed away peacefully in his home in Los Angeles. His cremated remains were buried at sea in Malibu. The world mourned the loss of another inspiring talent. Before he left, he did say one thing that touched my heart:

"I hope that the kids, while they sing along to my songs or dance to it, feel that life is not that bad at all. Even for just a minute." - John Paul Larkin a.k.a. Scatman John

He wanted to make the world a better place, and didn't want to make anyone believe that life was worthless. He turned to scat music because he stuttered. He turned his biggest shortcoming into his biggest asset. He turned a weakness into a strength. He didn't care about his age when he reached international fame. He didn't let his illnesses inhibit his dreams. Though he has left us, his dream hasn't. It still lives on. This is already pretty much living proof that dreams don't end with death. The dream lives on to give people with disabilities a better future, a brighter one and a reason to live. It gives all of us a reason to testify God's creations.

Go take a listen to his biggest hit "Scatman's World", which was featured in the mixtape NOW! That's What I Call Music!

He still continues to inspire 10 years after his death...and he will still be an inspiration to me and to everyone who holds fast to their dreams.


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