This article was originally published on Youthopia on 7 October 2020. Though some of the events and details in this article may have changed since, we hope to remember those in our community who made an impact to the world around them.
Earlier this year in August, the Inclusive Arts Movement (I.AM) released a rousing rendition of A Million Dreams, originally featured in the smash-hit film The Greatest Showman.
The rendition saw vocalists Adelyn Koh and Dominic Chin, joined by fellow musicians James Lau, Leonard Ng, Muhammad Zahier, Raihan Rosli and Ron Tan, deliver an emotional cover of an already beautiful song.
The video, which has amassed over 73,000 views on Facebook, is the latest endeavour of the I.AM.
Since 2013, the movement has been dedicated to raising social awareness for differently-abled talents and creating opportunities for sustainable income through musical and arts performances.
Its co-founder, Ron Tan, shared with Youth.SG that A Million Dreams was picked by the team to best convey their message of hope.
“Dreams help push us through and allow ourselves to continue to push ourselves with a positive mindset,” said the 28-year old deaf pianist.
“With COVID-19, many are faced with several situations and mental health seems to be a concern. I thought that this song might inspire them to stop, watch and remind themselves of their dreams.”
While it may be hard to tell, Raihan Rosli, who manned the electric guitar in the cover, revealed that the main challenge for him in the video was that it was his first time performing with some from the group.
“It was my first time meeting and playing with Dominic, Adelyn and Zahier and I was worried about the chemistry,” said the 24 year-old.
“But they were really good and are, simply put, just beautiful people!”
At the end of practice on the first day, the technical challenges that they faced with the arrangements and musical direction were settled.
“By the second meeting, we were just having fun with each other and bonding through music,” recalled Raihan.
“Music really breaks the barriers between people. If we were doing anything other than making music, I doubt it would have been that easy and fun.”
It is this same view of music that is at the core of I.AM. Another key goal of the movement is in being a platform for the “differently-abled and generally-abled to work together” and unite through a common passion for the arts.
However, the movement’s endeavours are not without its challenges. With live-performance venues closed since March, Singapore’s musicians and artists have seen a huge hit in their incomes, further compounding the challenges that the differently-abled already face.
Ron is constantly on the lookout for support and angles to benefit the movement, such as from funding and grant supports. The A Million Dreams cover is one such example, with the video supported by Temasek Trust’s oscar@sg fund.
Speaking on the challenges, Ron explains, “We have to justify with deliverables and only measurable ones are usually accepted. However, it is hard to measure most of our efforts as we are creating an indirect impact, which is important too. In this instance, we are trying to change societal norms, we are trying to reduce inequality.
“Again, I wish to highlight that [the differently-abled] are not looking or being desperate for support. We just want to lead a dignified life like any other. In order to do that, we need to raise awareness and bring a change to what societal norms might be in Singapore. Society is the base to crucial decision making by important decision makers.”
Looking towards the future, I.AM will have a crowdfunding platform launching soon as well as more music videos in the works.
Ron concludes: “We are all just playing our part to help one another. At the end of the day, I shall just see my actions as a mission to create greater awareness so that society might change the way they think about us, and also factor us into the various forms of support during these times.”
Find out more about the Inclusive Arts Movement through its website and stay tuned to all that they have in store through their Facebook page. In the meantime, be dazzled by Raihan’s wonderful music available on Spotify.