In June 2021, members of Sydney Children’s Hospital Network’s Chronic Illness Peer Support group [or “ChIPS”], jumped on a Zoom call with singer-songwriter Luke Escombe to talk about their shared experiences of living with a chronic health condition.
The result was a relevant and telling high energy single – WAKE UP CALL which was premiered on Youtube today Friday 6th August and ramped up to over 1500 views in only a few days.. Click below for the link:
Heres the latest review from Triple J Unearthed Music Director Dave Ruby Howe:
ChIPS is a peer support program that runs across Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network for young people aged 12-25 years who are living with a chronic illness or condition that affects their day-to-day lives. The aim of the program is to connect young people with shared experiences and provide them with opportunities for developing leadership and life skills through workshops, advocacy, creative projects, program planning and public speaking. Through these activities and relationships they develop confidence, wellbeing, self-esteem and decrease social isolation. Above all, ChIPS is about creating a community and having fun with new friends. The program is run by young people for young people.
What emerged most strongly from the conversation was the common frustration they felt at not being listened to by the adults in their lives; at being told “you should do this” or “you need to do this” or being made to feel that they were helpless, incapable or in need of fixing.
The ChIPS members also spoke about “the mask” they felt compelled to wear in society in order to appear “normal”, and how exhausting and lonely it is to live behind. Escombe, who was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at the age of fourteen, could relate to these feelings directly.
The result of their conversation is “Wake Up Call” – an angry, articulate and infectiously catchy song that asks people to think twice before offering unwanted advice. If you want to help, the song states, just LISTEN.
Beyond the words, “Wake Up Call” also showcases the eclectic mix of talents in this group, from Sky Boe’s powerful lead vocals to Batu’s Turkish rap breakdown. For some of the ChIPS members, the recording session (at Free Energy Device, Sydney, with producer Michael McGlynn) was also the first time they’d met one another in real life.
“Wake Up Call” came about through an initiative called “We Wrote that”, conceived by Escombe – the creator and frontman of ARIA-nominated kids band The Vegetable Plot – and fellow musician and children’s performer Ben Thatcher, as an artistic means to give voice to young people living with disability and chronic health conditions. Funding came from Accessible Arts and Create NSW.
ChIPS – Wake Up Call is out NOW August 6th through Foghorn/MGM
Download or stream:
“We Wrote That” – Website
Connect with Luke Escombe: