Condition: Blind due to Glaucoma complications
1. What is your profession and why did you decide to choose this field?
I'm a singer, musician, and songwriter and have probably been playing music in some form or other since I was five or six years old. It might sound silly but I think sometimes creative arts choose you. I've just grown up always trying to play musical instruments of some sort or other. When I left school I studied music production and sound engineering and then opened a recording studio but I suppose I never stopped being a performing musician myself. Even now I work in PR and Communications for a UK charity, I still gig every week and at the moment, I'm enjoying quite a creative time with my songwriting.
2. What is the most rewarding thing about what you do?
To me, being a musician is the gift that keeps on giving. The most rewarding thing about playing music is witnessing how it can influence how people feel and I'm lucky enough to play music to make people feel good – to be part of their life's soundtrack. I believe music and art are incredibly powerful and influences so much of our lives. I've learnt so much through music and it's great to know that there's still so much to learn. There's comfort in that somehow and like many other scenes, there's a fellowship amongst musicians.
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?
It's taken me so long to learn that those who say you can't do something, either say it to try and protect you or it comes from a place of fear. Only you know how you feel and if you know you want to pursue some particular career or interest, then you must. The best lessons I ever learnt, others might call failure but it's that which helps you grow and develop as an artist and as a person. You have to experience life for yourself and not rely on others to tell you what you should do. They aren't you and they don't know what you have to give. Living with a disability means life seems to like presenting you with limits and boundaries but if I've learnt anything, it's that limits and boundaries are only there until you break through them or move beyond them.
You can follow Joe on YouTube