Newsletter

Calls for volunteers, author's thoughts, the latest portraits.
Stay connected.
Calls for volunteers, author's thoughts, the latest portraits.
Stay connected.

June 2021, Zurich (Switzerland)

“Danny, how does being friends with an international star influence you?”

Danny steps out of the car and walks towards the boy, who’s already waiting for him beside the road full of anticipation. Danny has to smile, he knows this mixture of euphoria and nervousness from his own experience. There is this one moment that he still vividly sees in his mind’s eye.

10 years earlier, Danny had stood next to his father in the packed concert hall, and with him thousands of fans cheering for Bonnie Tyler. It was loud, hot and magical. Ever since he had first heard a song of her on the stairs in his parents’ house, he had been fascinated by Bonnie, who became an international star in the 80s. Fascinated by her raspy voice and down-to-earth manner.
“Her husband will pick us up at the artist entrance,” Danny had told his father before the concert. “Then he’ll take us to Bonnie.”
Danny’s father hadn’t believed him, because how could his 15-year-old son have pulled this off? It had started when Danny posted a photo of his first Bonnie Tyler concert on social media. Bonnie’s brother became aware of Danny, they met online, whereupon he promised Danny to arrange a meeting.

Now, Bonnie strode forward, her dress glittering in front of the dark background of the stage. Over the microphone she said to the audience, “I want to mention two lovely people somewhere in the audience. A boy and his father. Danny, where are you? The next song is for both of you, see you soon!”
Danny felt the blood rush to his head. He hesitantly raised his hand, but remained unidentified. He would meet her in person later, a dream would come true.

After the concert, Bonnie’s husband actually picked them up. They climbed the stairs to the backstage area, where a few people sat around a table covered with fruit and snacks. It was a large, high-ceilinged room, with records and pictures from previous concerts hanging on the walls. Of course, Danny recognized the band members immediately.
“Bonnie will be right here,” the husband said to Danny. “Help yourselves, take whatever you want.”
Danny nodded cautiously, glancing at his father, who probably still couldn’t quite believe that Bonnie was about to walk through that door – which she eventually did. Bonnie greeted Danny and his father with joy and they talked for a bit before Bonnie had to head to her next appointment. Rather unspectacular, one might assume. More surprising, however, is that they did meet many times after this first encounter.

Music has been a common thread going through Danny’s life, today he even writes his own music. It had all started in Ireland, a country over which there was a trace of melancholy in his opinion. In his early childhood, he lived with his parents in a small neighborhood. He admired his teacher playing melodies on the piano. One day, Danny snuck into the lower part of the school building after school, where he found the music room. When he looked around, there was no one to be seen. Thus, he pushed the door handle down and snuck inside.
Several times he repeated the secret visits, playing on the keys without knowing what he was doing. Whether this went unnoticed by the teachers, he doesn’t know for sure. But perhaps they simply let him. A little boy who was passionate about music shouldn’t be stopped.

Unfortunately, at the age of 9, he and his family had to leave Ireland – for economic reasons.
“Why do you leave?” a classmate asked. Danny promised to come back.
He can remember the farewell party vividly. How all the neighbors gathered on the big lawn, how the school bus brought the kids so they could say goodbye to him. How a couple of his mother’s colleagues accompanied them on the 3-hour drive to the airport.

A few years later, when Danny stepped back through the big gate of the neighborhood and stood on the lawn where the party had taken place, he realized that, due to the economic crisis, many of his neighbors at the time had also moved away. The house they had lived in was for sale. There were holes in the roof from which moss was growing. Danny thinks wistfully back to those childhood days in this house. He wouldn’t forget the people from back then.

Bonnie hadn’t forgotten him either. He had gone to about a dozen concerts of hers in the meantime, each time meeting his idol after her performance. Danny and his companions had never had to pay for a ticket again.
“So nice to see you again!” she said each time. “How’s your dad? How’s it going with your music?”
And when he was busy promoting his new single this summer, he couldn’t believe Bonnie had posted a video message: “Hi Danny, Bonnie Tyler here! I thought I’d give you a little support for your new single. I wish you all the best, darling, I’ve known you for such a long time. You sound wonderful.”
Incredulously, he sat in his car in the parking garage of a shopping center and watched the video over and over again. He did so until a text message arrived from his girlfriend: “Where are you, are you okay? Are you coming home soon?”
“Be right there,” he wrote back. “You’ll understand why.”

A week later, Danny finally experiences the moment with Jan, the boy he’s now walking toward. Danny is currently distributing flyers among his acquaintances to promote his new single. Jan’s father had messaged him that it would be great if Danny could also make a stop at their place as Jan is a big fan of Danny.
“You’re already waiting for me on the street?” says Danny with a laugh.
“I knew you would arrive by car,” Jan responds and beams.
“Your father told me you visited one of my concerts.”
Jan nodded. “I’m thrilled by your music.”
Danny gives him the flyer, on which he had put a piece of chocolate. It’s the moment Danny realizes that the circle is closing. The meetings with Bonnie have given him so much motivation and confidence, now he wants to pass on the appreciation he has experienced to others.

Danny eventually drives off again to continue his tour. Hours later, he suddenly receives a message from Jan: A photo showing the flyer on Jan’s nightstand along with the message: “Danny, I hope you won’t forget me.”
When Danny reads this message, he’s sure that he will never forget Jan. Because he will tell other people about this encounter and about many others that had taken place thanks to his love for music. It proves to Danny that one has to hold on to one’s dreams.

_____
Listen to Danny’s new single on Youtube