"Sometimes you just have to throw out the rule book, follow your heart and write a song the way you feel it."
Songwriter Katie Hardyman's newest song, Always By Your Side, has been written to raise awareness and hope surrounding those affected by the rare childhood cancer, sarcoma.
"I wrote that song for everybody who is going through cancer and sarcoma.
"It is my hope to raise awareness and funding for this type of cancer and show the listener the true reality of what those battling this illness are faced with.
"I wrote it as a mother or father or sibling talking to that person and helping someone, words that talk about what people are dealing with. So far everyone has loved it.
"I've heard from people in England and America, everyone wanting to get this out there.""
The song is inspired by a close family member of hers who is fighting sarcoma.
"September is childhood cancer awareness month so I'm trying to get the message out.
"Less than one per cent of cancer research funding goes towards sarcoma, yet sarcoma makes up 20 per cent of cancers in children and accounts for 38 per cent of childhood cancer deaths."
Vocals have been recorded by Anna Weatherup, a season two contestant on The Voice Australia, whose blind audition prompted all four judges to turn their chair.
"Anna is an incredible artist and her voice is just magic. I am forever grateful to her for bringing my song to life by her incredible ability to tell a story through song," she said.
Katie's good friend and lyricist Mick Evans from the UK, who she met at last year's Hollywood Music In Media Awards, came on board as co-writer.
"There were many times when this song came to a stand still, but with Mick's encouragement and enthusiasm, we got there in the end."
At one stage Katie, who is from the Manning and currently lives in Sydney, said she had 80 pages of lyrics, which she worked down to one page.
Anna's vocals were recorded by Dale Willis at Honest Crowe Collective and Turn Around Music in Taree did the production on the piano version.
Work is now underway on a video clip and through Katie's collaboration with the Cooper Rice Brading Foundation, has been provided information and photos.
She feels the song has brought her "full circle".
Katie started her career as a paediatric cancer nurse and began writing music with the children she was caring for as her inspiration. Now, 20 years later, she is writing about the same themes.
Photos provided through the CRBF also led Katie to reconnect with a girl, now 20, who had been the last patient Katie had nursed in the children's ward before she left nursing.
"She's one of the rare survivors. I looked after her when she was three."
Always By Your Side has been nominated in the Hollywood Music In Media Awards (Katie and Anna will fly to America to attend the awards in November), received a silver Medal in the Global Music Awards, is shortlisted in the National Australian Songwriting Awards, progressed to the semi finals in the UK Songwriting Contest and was a top 5 winner in the Songwriters Universe Magazine in America.
And while the awards and recognition is appreciated, Katie said it's the fact people are relating to the song and she has the chance to talk about her song, raise the profile of the illness and the need for greater funding for sarcoma research, that is motivating her.
"In Hollywood we're going to be interviewed about the red carpet about the song."
Katie hopes to see her song included in a documentary.
For more information on sarcoma go to https://www.crbf.org.au/.
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