A disabled songwriter who was told he’d never be able to pursue a career in music is celebrating the release of his debut single.
Kieron Kneafsey, who went to school in Huddersfield, suffers from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a condition affecting most of the muscles in the body along with their connective tissues.
Kieron, who now lives in Halifax, also has a curved spine, meaning he has been confined to a wheelchair since the age of 16.
Prior to his condition beginning to worsen in his mid-teens, Kieron was a gifted Irish dancer performing at World Championship level.
More recently, the 28-year-old has undergone 25 operations over a 10-year period and had to re-learn basic skills such as dressing himself and transferring in and out of chairs.
But throughout it all, Kieron’s passion for music and dance has never wavered and he began to write songs while undergoing rehab at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in London.
“I was told that I’d never be able to pursue music because I wouldn’t be well enough to deal with the day-to-day challenges,” he said.
“I started to get to the point where I thought: ‘Disabled or not, this is what I want to do. I’m going to do it to the best of my ability.’
“A disabled person is rarely given the chance to prove themselves but I wasn’t going to let that happen. I made sure I did get noticed.”
After liaising with a music producer, Kieron recorded his first track, ‘Just Be Mine’, at a studio in Nottingham.
The single was well-received by producers in the dance genre and it has since gone on to be released on all major streaming platforms.
“I wanted to bring out a song that showed I still have a feel for dance,” said Kieron, who attended All Saints Catholic College in Huddersfield.
“A lot of people have taken in different messages from the song. From my point of view, I wanted to show that ‘Just Be Mine’ related to what I could achieve and that my dreams could be mine.”
A full album is now in the works with Kieron due to record his second single in the coming weeks.
And he told YorkshireLive he’s looking to use his success as a catalyst for change in the music industry.
“Understanding of disabilities and compassion is the biggest thing that needs to change in the industry,” he said.
“When I was at a young age I never really saw anyone on television who was disabled. It was sort of a taboo subject and people didn’t want to talk about it.
“That’s the exact opposite of what we need.”
Kieron’s debut single Just Be Mine is available to stream on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Instagram sounds and TikTok.