Condition: Blind brain tumour survivor
1. What is your profession and why did you decide to choose this field?
I am a recording engineer, session musician, music journalist, TV and radio personality, music publisher, producer, touring recording artist, inspirational speaker and educator
I was diagnosed with a brain tumour at around 18 months old and had the tumour removed at around 2 years old. The tumour took my sight and sense of smell and also destroyed my endocrine system. The doctors knew I would not make it if they didn't remove the tumour. However, they were also concerned that I wouldn't survive the surgery and thought that if I did, I would most likely not walk or talk. I did survive and walk and talk quite well, but, I did end up in the ICU for over a month. With 2 senses down, I highly rely upon my sense of touch and hearing. So it is no exaggeration to say that I am a walking set of ears. Sound therefore is my universe and I fill that universe with music!
That is why I chose music as a lifelong career. To be fully honest, I am obsessed with music and sound production. I get up in the morning and start listening to music to start my day off right. I then go to work and make music or other types of recordings all day long and then I come home and—you guessed it—I listen to more music. For the first 13 to 15 years of my life I was focused on survival and never really thought of music as a job I could do, but then I got my first job in audio as a sound tech for a local planetarium and from that job other people started hearing that I had some home recording gear. So my recording studio business was born. I started having bands record their original music with me and I knew that I also wanted to write and record my own music because I had a story to tell and music was the vehicle through which I was going to tell that story. So, I started writing and recording my own songs. I have never had another job that wasn't related to music and sound recording and I have always been my own boss. You can learn more at: shadowsoundstudio.com and joeystuckey.com
2. What is the most rewarding thing about what you do?
I love meeting new people and going new places. I love to travel all over the world with my wife Jennifer, so whenever I can, I accept work doing master classes in sound, music and the business of music along with performance opportunities and recording sessions at my studio or at others studios.
I also love working with artists at the start of their journey. I like giving them a great experience and tools to advance their career! And I also love to be creative! This job is the perfect blend of art and science. I couldn't ask for a better life, though I wouldn't mind having a major hit song so I could get that beach house LOL!
3. What is your advice to all the other VIPs around the world who don't believe they can be successful in the area of their interest because of their disability?
Having a disability does make things more difficult, but with hard work and a true passion for what you are doing, you can be successful. We won't all become super stars and sell out 80,000 seat arenas, but we can have a life of success and intention doing what makes us happy! The tumour took my sight, my sense of smell and wrecked my endocrine system.
So, the eyesight challenge is the most obvious problem, however, due to the endocrine issues, I have had a total right hip replacement, in fact, when I met my wife of now over 17 years, I was in a wheelchair directing a musical. I also have had to have a total right shoulder replacement and I suffer from chronic fatigue as I don't have normal adrenal function. And while I don't get sick more often than other people, if I do get sick, it hits me a lot harder and can be more severe and involve a hospital stay.
I tell you all this to say that If I can live a life that I value and others value, so can anyone! We of course must acknowledge our limitations, but never, never, never, define ourselves in terms of those limitations! We are more than just blind or visually impaired! I believe in the amazing things that humans can do.
My last piece of advice is to truly be obsessed with whatever you want to do with your life, because that will give you the motivation to overcome whatever you have to in order to do what you want. Remember, as long as you are happy it doesn't matter if anyone else understands or even supports you. Believe in yourself and love yourself and work hard and there is nothing you can't accomplish!
You can follow Joey on spotify