One Dad’s Prescription For Helping Sick Kids: Silly Songs

When Boston-based musician Alastair Moock's daughter Clio was first hospitalized last year after being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at age 5, he decided to make her hospital stay a bit more bearable by doing what he does best: writing songs. He sat down with his little girl and, together, they penned two tunes that helped her express her experiences as a cancer patient. Now, more than a year later, what started as two songs for his own daughter has turned into an entire album meant to help other families around the country, and has become a turning point in the 40-year-old's career.

“I started to accumulate material that was intended for Clio, and for us, as a way of processing and working through this stuff,” Moock tells Yahoo Shine. “The material that’s out there [about cancer] doesn’t really address the situation from the inside out.” 

Moock thought the songs could be useful to other kids who were going through the same thing, so he set out to raise $10,000 to record an album. A crowd-funding campaign brought in $30,000 and "Singing Our Way Through: Songs For the World’s Bravest Kids" debuted this past July. (Those initial songs written with Clio, “I’m a Little Monkey” and “Take a Little Walk With Me,” are featured on the album, as is Clio herself.) Moock says that as soon as the album was released he received requests from hospitals across the country for the CD and, in less than four months, he has donated nearly 2,000 albums to hospitals, clinics, and camps for kids battling illnesses. In addition, about 150 families who have children with cancer have also taken advantage of the free download available on his website. The singer also shot a video with daughter Clio for the tune, “When I Get Bald,” which recently passed the 20,000 views mark. As for Clio, she is more than half way through her two-year treatment and, according to her dad, is doing really well.

Moock says he’s found his “sweet spot” as a musician in creating kids music that adults love, too. “There’s no reason when you listen to kids music you should want to jump out the car window while you’re driving, ” he says. His next project will be an album of songs that celebrates families of all kinds. “Having kids changes your world view,” says Moock, “I had already written a bunch of songs before Clio was diagnosed that that were leading toward an album that would be a celebration on diversity, changing gender roles, and embracing different family styles.”

Check out more of Moock's songs on his website.