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James Durbin | Artist On The Spectrum

by | May 29, 2018 | Artists, Blog, Music

If you like inspiring, against all odds stories and enjoy a bit of metal music, read on. This a true story about a man named James Durbin. As with all the artists in this series, James was born with extremely unique challenges and raised in an adverse,  less than ideal environment. Despite it all, Durbin overcame and became one of the most musically inspiring stories this century thus far. Oh, and at the end of the article is a link to a really nice interview he did.

Childhood

James Durbin was born 6 January, 1989 in Santa Cruz, California, United States. Born with Tourettes, Asperger syndrome, and to a drug addicted father, James was an easy target for bullies.   James’ father died from a drug overdose when he was 9 years old and shortly there after was diagnosed with Tourette and Asperger syndromes at 10 years old. The traumas kept piling up.

A Spark That Wouldn’t Die

But throughout it all, James had sparks of light and potential in his life. Sparks large enough for his mother to see and nurture. She noticed little James had a remarkable interest in music during his sister’s involvement in a high school musical. So much so his mother or sister informed the play’s director. During the final performance of the musical, the director allowed James to go onstage and perform with the cast; without an audition. This was the moment the spark became the fire we see in all his performances.

James Durbin was born 6 January, 1989 in Santa Cruz, California, United States. Born with Tourettes, Asperger syndrome, and to a drug addicted father, James was an easy target for bullies.   James’ father died from a drug overdose when he was 9 years old and shortly there after was diagnosed with Tourette and Asperger syndromes at 10 years old. The traumas kept piling up.

But throughout it all, James had sparks of light and potential in his life. Sparks large enough for his mother to see and nurture. She noticed little James had a remarkable interest in music during his sister’s involvement in a high school musical. So much so his mother or sister informed the play’s director. During the final performance of the musical, the director allowed James to go onstage and perform with the cast; without an audition. This was the moment the spark became the fire we see in all his performances.

Musical Epiphanies

James was given an old guitar and chord book at 12 and learned how to play basic chords and songs. It was during his practice he realised the sanctuary of music. He was able to create an beautiful reality when he made music. This reality was where he was most comfortable. Music has a way of creating a soothing space that allows a person to immerse and relax. The adage “music soothes the savage beast” comes to mind. Music creates another reality for many people. Yet, although James found immense acceptance in music he understood he could not always lose himself in it. Reality would dawn and the bullies right along with it. These bullies certainly didn’t care about his new found happiness ,instead they found pleasure in crushing his joy.

The bullying was unrelenting. It was so bad James decided to drop out of high school. So to sum it up, before his 16th birthday, James diagnosed with Tourettes, Aspergers, had a dead overdosed father and now was a high school drop out. It is no doubt that James had thoughts of suicide.

The bullying was unrelenting. It was so bad James decided to drop out of high school. So to sum it up, before his 16th birthday, James diagnosed with Tourettes, Aspergers, had a dead overdosed father and now was a high school drop out. It is no doubt that James had thoughts of suicide.

The Shift

A few years after he dropped out of high school James met a beautiful girl named Heidi. She was successful in his eyes. She had a diploma, three jobs, a car and actual goals. Someone beautiful and successful and paid attention to James! And as beautiful angels do, he was inspired to start moving forward. Durbin started a band, got a job, a car, his High school equivalency. He started gigging and tried out for American Idol. He didn’t make it the first audition yet went for a second audition. The second one he killed and went to the finals.

The Inspiration

From his time on American Idol, Durbin kept going even higher. He sang and collaborated with Quiet Riot and is well respected as a solo artist. He has been interviewed countless times including an interview with Dr. Drew and an appearance on The Ellen Show.

From his time on American Idol, Durbin kept going even higher. He sang and collaborated with Quiet Riot and is well respected as a solo artist. He has been interviewed countless times including an interview with Dr. Drew and an appearance on The Ellen Show.

Out of all the persons I have researched, Durbin is the most public and outspoken singer regarding his challenges. Because of his courage to stand out, he has inspired millions of people around the world. He truly is a global inspiration. If you do a name search on google or youtube, you will come up with millions of hits. He truly is an amazing man with a beautiful wife and 2 kids to boot! Quite a contrast from his childhood. Well done Mr. Durbin. You are awesome.

What are your thoughts?

Do you have a creative child with challenges?

How about getting them into music or art?

Do you have any stories of overcoming adversity you would like to share?

Speaking of sharing, do you know anyone this article would inspire? Please share this article with that someone. Durbin’s sincerity and light is worth hitting the share button.

I’m a music teacher in Brisbane and I can tell you it is incredibly rewarding to help people explore and realise their potential.

Thanks for reading.

p.s. Here is a link to a great interview he did on CNN with Dr. Drew.

So what are your thoughts?  Do you have a creative child with challenges?

How about getting them into music or art?

Do you have any stories of overcoming adversity you would like to share?

Speaking of sharing, do you know anyone this article would inspire? Please share this article with that someone. Durbin’s sincerity and light is worth hitting the share button.

I’m a music teacher in Brisbane and I can tell you it is incredibly rewarding to help people explore and realise their potential.

Thanks for reading.

p.s. Here is a link to a great interview he did on CNN with Dr. Drew.

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