Episode 39 – Unstoppable Musician
I have had the honor to interview many guests since beginning Unstoppable Mindset. No guest has demonstrated a greater ability to be unstoppable than this episode’s guest, Ian Walker. Ian learned at a fairly early age that he happened to have ADHD. He also demonstrated a great aptitude and love of music. His love of music won as he will tell you in in our interview.
Ian also has worked at other jobs in his life. He will tell you about them as well. Ian’s insights about music and ADHD especially will show you and anyone you bring to our podcast that we can use our inner strength to overcome any challenges we think we have before us.
As you will hear, Ian is also a successful author and is even creating a play. Join Ian and me and be moved.
Thanks for listening and I hope you will let me know your thoughts about our episode and the Unstoppable Mindset podcast by emailing me at email@example.com.
About the Guest:
In Stirring My Soul to Sing, Overcoming ADHD Through Song,_first- time Canadian author W. Ian Walker, ADHD survivor, musician, author and speaker tells his story of lifelong struggles with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and how he found relief by leaning into the music and his Christian faith during his successful 30-year career in music and the arts. Walker’s book continues to grow in distribution and is listed on _43 international bookseller websites and stores. _
In his gritty and moving autobiography published in 2018, Walker offers “hope” for families and individuals facing an ADHD diagnosis. Walker is a classically trained musician, singer (baritone) and arts manager. He shares stories about how music (with an emphasis on vocal and choral music) brought him joy, success, and fulfilment in a life that was marked by a constant battle with ADHD. Walker credits his musical experiences and profoundly personal faith with mitigating and overcoming the potentially devastating impact of the disorder. He explains how, for 35 years, he used vocal and choral music to help him stay
focused, achieve goals, and meet deadlines, in conjunction with his ADHD.
Mr. Walker will be speaking at all online conferences for 2022 on “Overcoming ADHD with the Arts and Music Therapy”
A Long Road from the past until now... Although Ian was told he was “hyperactive” and had a learning disability in the early 1970s; he was not formally diagnosed with the disorder until 1996. In the intervening years, Walker experienced verbal abuse, school bullying, poor academic performance, employment instability, financial hardships, and failed relationships.
Despite these challenges, Walker persevered and now holds a _BA in Theater and Film, from McMaster University and a Post-graduate Certificate in Fundraising and Volunteer Management, from Humber College, Toronto and is a successful Arts Consultant.
W. Ian Walker is an in demand speaker and has recently spoke at ADDA/CHADD International OnLine Conference in 2020 & 2021. He also involved in many local community projects and is in preparation to lauch his first vocal performance and tour of a “Cabaret Evening with Ian” in 2022.
Walker is touring, speaking, and singing in support of the book. He has also produced eight videos.
For Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org/shop or to purchase the book. Please call: 1-289- 700-7005
About the Host:
Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog.
Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog Awards.
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Michael Hingson 00:00
Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I’m Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that’s a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we’re happy to meet you and to have you here with us.
Michael Hingson 01:19
Welcome to another episode of unstoppable mindset. Thanks for being here. I hope that you enjoy what we have to talk about today. We have a guest who I’ve been looking forward to for quite a while and circumstances keep causing us to have to delay getting together but we finally made it didn’t we Ian?
Ian Walker 01:42
Yes, exactly. Nice to be here, Michael.
Michael Hingson 01:45
Thanks. And it’s good to have you here. Ian Walker has a very interesting background. And I’m going to say up front, one of the interesting things about en and one that I’m really anxious to learn more about is that he himself has what people would classify as a disability. And that’s fascinating to me, needless to say, so why don’t we start there? You You say that at some point in your life, you since you were different? Can you tell us about that?
Ian Walker 02:15
Yeah, so um, I was raised in a very musical family. And music and the arts were really important. And especially for me, when we found out that I was diagnosed later on in my life with ADHD, but being a kid from the 1970s, they used to, you know, call me hyperactive. And so ADHD wasn’t, you know, wasn’t diagnosed wasn’t used then. But I basically had all of the elements of, you know, dealing with ADHD. And so that’s Attention Deficit hyper disorder, we’re for people that don’t, don’t understand the disorder. And so, you know, I dealt with a lot of stuff. My mother, my grandmother, and my mother were very musical, and they acted as my, my mentors. And so, you know, once we sort of found out that I wasn’t in your MOS, I wasn’t your average, you know, person here that was going through the regular school system. My, my grandmother suggested to my parents that I’d always love to sing and that I should take singing lessons. And that opened up a huge, you know, door for me a level of confidence, and self esteem. And, and then, you know, I had to deal with all the bullying that went on, because I was a young young man who wanted to sing.
Michael Hingson 04:09
When did this occur? When did all this occur?
Ian Walker 04:12
So, I was born in 1960. Okay, and by around 1970 1971, I, you know, I’d already been a boy soprano.My grandmother really trained me very well. And as a result, people come up to me all the time and say, Oh, II and when you sing, you have great diction. Yay, Grandma, you know,
Ian Walker 04:39
oh, well, about your D’s and T’s and that you want to be heard at the back of the hall or the back of the church, you know? And that was the days before amplification right where amplitude vacation is used so much now. So, so I got all of the the great beginning sings and grandma would work with me on the piece and the finesse and the phrasing, and the and, you know, the diction, and mom would help me with, with rhythm. You know, sometimes my rhythm wasn’t always right on track. And then she’d also helped me with, you know, the finesse more maybe about dynamics and, you know, interpretation of the songs. And so, you know, this being the early 70s, there wasn’t a lot of great selection out there to, for a young staff to learn to sing. And so I’d be and because I was raised in the church, you know, I sang a lot of early boy soprano stuffs, a lot of Easter pieces of hallelujahs. And, you know, a lot of those kinds of wonderful thing is a great training, a great training, you know, I really, really wished we had recorded my voice as a young soprano, I don’t have a boy soprano. I don’t have any, you know, except vague little memories every once in a while, sort of, you know, pops in my head. But so then, around 1971 72, I was in grade four, grade five. And they determined that I needed to go and deal with my ADHD issues. So it being the 70s, they took kids out of the regular school system, this is here in Canada, they took kids out of the regular schools and put them into a special school for disability issues. Well, I was always really good on all of my, you know, English, geography, history, all of the main core, you know, subjects, but my weakness was math. And so as now probably what they would do is just, you know, have a special tutor for me, but anyways, I had to be taken out of the school system. Put two years behind, you know, and, and, thank goodness, in my second year, we had an amazing teacher, who was a background of the military was a left handed Colonel here in Canada. And he, when you were in his class, you were like, in the army was it and so we classmates almost saluted when we came into. And, but he was very, very good with me. And he recognized and said, This boy’s intelligence, he’s got, you know, English and history and, and geography and, you know, an interest in science, what’s he doing here? So, he made a special, you know, presentation to me to the, you know, to the board or whatever, and said, Ian needs to be put back into the regular classroom curriculum. And so, I did grade six, and then to grade eight, back in the road rotary system, but I was two years behind, you know, my peers so so, you know, still continuing on with my music. You know, it was in a lot of different shows. At that time. They had a kid’s version or student version for the pirate No. Gilbert and Sullivan’s not pirates, but the other one. pinafore pinafore, HMS Pinafore, and I got to play the captain and you know,
Michael Hingson 09:13
you are not the model of modern major model of the modern
Ian Walker 09:17
meeting general No, no. That’s a wonderful twisting song. Oh, my goodness, it’s, you know, takes a long time to learn all the lyrics in that song. Yeah,
Michael Hingson 09:32
but you know, yeah, go ahead.
Ian Walker 09:35
So there’s a little bit about, you know, dealing with the disability stuff.
Michael Hingson 09:39
So do you regard yourself as a person with a disability today? Yeah, why? Why? What do you think about that?
Ian Walker 09:51
Well, because of Okay, so, it took me 27 years to get my BA And a lot of the hindrances, that when, you know, I gone through high school, and did, you know did some other sort of other some other courses along the way to, you know, check out, see what I really wanted to do, but I really wanted to have a degree in music. And when I got into the program at the University of Western Ontario, very good school, for singers, and choral people. I just couldn’t handle the program, I could handle all the artistic, all the creative stuff, but I couldn’t handle the academics. And that’s where we really found out that I had a disability with my writing, that there was some some problems that I’d leave out words that, you know, my sentence structure was in great. I couldn’t do syntax from one paragraph to the other paragraph. And there was just some other, you know, other stuff along the way that I really, it was really determined to me that I did have a disability, as you know, as an ADHD student,
Michael Hingson 11:18
how did you deal with that, then, in terms of addressing the issue of word gaps and so on?
Ian Walker 11:25
Well, before you know, voice activated software, right, I would have to read my papers over, like, you know, and that was part of the chore as getting the work done way before the the deadline was, you know, was required. But then when voice activated software came in, I use Dragon Naturally Speaking in the early years. And so then, eventually, it could read it to me. And then I went, Oh, my goodness, you know, I’ve left out a verb here, I’ve left out an adjective there, or, you know, the sentence didn’t make sense. Or, and then, you know, as I learned more about syntax from the next paragraph to the next paragraph. Yeah, it was difficult. And I still got some of my papers. From those some of the early beginnings before I was officially diagnosed with ADHD. And I go, Oh, my goodness, like look at the mistakes, you know, as well as spelling mistakes and things that now you know, software can grammerly Naturally Speaking, no grammar, grammar, Grammarly. I like Grammarly. It really, it really punches up my my work. I haven’t checked
Michael Hingson 12:53
lately but for me, Grammarly has been somewhat inaccessible, which is a little bit of a problem. But it doesn’t at least I haven’t found that it works with screen readers well, but I again, I haven’t looked at it now. And in a couple of years, so maybe there have been some improvements. But I do agree with you and appreciate the concept that software helps us a lot. If we’re open to using I remember Dragon Dictate back in the very early days.
Ian Walker 13:26
And yeah, and there.
Michael Hingson 13:29
Well, and it wasn’t overly accessible and Dragon wasn’t overly accessible. There is a product now I use a screen reader called JAWS that verbalizes whatever text comes across the screen, and a gentleman over in England has created a product called JC which is sort of a bridge between dragon and jaws, and actually makes the combination a lot more accessible. So it’s very easy now to use Dragon Naturally Speaking and use it effectively. And voice input software like Dragon has made such a difference. I think to so many people. It’s so much easier to compose now as you point out.
Ian Walker 14:15
Mm hmm. And, and I love it. Like you know, I’m generally a Microsoft guy. So you know, I yeah, I tried Mac and it just it’s just too complicated for my brain.
Michael Hingson 14:30
Mac is great for graphics. Yeah, and a lot of and a lot of people use it but I too tend toward windows.
Ian Walker 14:38
Yeah, yeah. And so you know, now that when I’m writing and stuff, I just love it that AI can either use dictate or you know, or just click on the Grammarly and clean up some stuff that need may need it
Michael Hingson 14:55
has Grammarly ever said You dumb bunny. Aren’t you ever gonna figure that out, oh, no, just checking, just checking.
Ian Walker 15:06
They may say, Huh, you might have another, you have two or three other options.
Michael Hingson 15:13
That’s my wife would say that though. But that’s, that’s what wives do. Well, you know, you, you talk about your grandfather being a preacher or pastor, how did? How did his influence affect you?
Ian Walker 15:31
Okay, so this is great grandfather. So I had two great grandfather’s on my dad’s side, who were Baptist preachers. So faith has always been very important in our family. And, you know, and then along with, with the music and stuff, my grandmother that the one that was my, my vocal coach, everything, she was a music director for 25 years, and her Baptist Church and director, choirs, as well as all, you know, musical events. So, so between both my mom and dad had both strong faith and, and I was raised in the Baptist Convention of Ontario, and Quebec, or Baptist of Canada. So our faith has always been very, very important. And that’s a really good point. Because in my later years, as I, you know, was learning more about the disorder and a whole deal, when I would be really frustrated, I could just, you know, I could just turn to my faith, I could turn to God, and just, you know, say, God, I need strength here. And I need help, I need support. And, you know, and, and then the thing was, I had lots of people in the family praying for me as well, genuinely, all of them on both sides of my mum and dad side are a lot of, you know, secure Christian, so they had been Christians for a long time. And they they, so I would really say on both my mom and dad side generally is we’re a family of faith. And that made a huge, huge difference in actually tell you another story. When I was going through some really bad bullying, in so this is public school, just before third grade, seventh grade, sixth grade seventh, my mom formed a prayer group for children that were having disabilities, mostly boys. Were there were some girls in in the group. And that prayer group continued, I think they got together like, once or twice a month, that prayer group continued for a good 10 years. And I know that I’m walking out of the blessings of that prayer group, because of the faithfulness of my mom and her, her friends that prayed me for strength to get through the issues that I needed to get through. And
Michael Hingson 18:17
they pass that on to you. Mm hmm. Which is pretty cool. I think that faith is a very important thing. And I think that it is very relevant for us to have faith, however we express it, that inner strength is is very important to all of us. And, and I’m sure that you, especially when you’re talking about bullying, and so on, clearly you, you’ve had a lot of tests of that. And, you know, at the same time, you know, as well as I that a lot of the bullying comes simply from ignorance and people just don’t understand. And you you can choose either to hold a grudge and create a lot of animosity, or you can move beyond that.
Ian Walker 19:11
That’s right. Well, I think what happened was, you know, when I got to a point, kind of just sort of before my 30s and I just didn’t like all of the excess baggage that you know, the that I was still having, I was having, you know, bad dreams of these experiences and stuff. And just just right around there, I was starting to have some, some marital ish issues with my first wife. And so I got into some really good Christian counseling. And, you know, we had to go deep, deep deep down the well, you know, To deal with this stuff, but once we got it out, and as they will talk about it. And the other thing was to learning how to forgive those who had really, you know, hurt me, like, as in the Bible, you know, Jesus says, you know, forgive those who may not know what they’ve done, right? And, and so once I was able to do that, oh my goodness, a huge burden was lifted from my heart and my whole presence. And I just, you know, I was able to carry on, and I think a lot of the blessings that I’ve had over the last, say 10 or 15 years is because I’ve gotten rid of that, those burdens of, you know, of not of those burdens of unforgiveness still holding on to those those issues. So I’m, I’m grateful that, you know, I learned that experience relatively young in my life.
Michael Hingson 21:05
You have written a book I have, that I’d love to hear more about.
Ian Walker 21:12
Okay, so I’m holding it up here. So it’s called stirring my soul to sing, overcoming ADHD through song. And it’s available on Amazon. It’s available on Barnes and Barnes and Noble, and you can find it on a lot of other you know, platforms.
Michael Hingson 21:34
Is there an audio version of the book?
Ian Walker 21:36
Not yet. This is that I’m just starting to think about that, too. So when we were getting it, you know, published and my resources didn’t include in the budget to do an audiobook, but I’m, I’m thinking about doing one very soon. So, yeah,
Michael Hingson 21:55
it won’t earn you money, but you might explore in Canada. I’m not sure what the process is. But you might reach out to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, there is a program. In most countries, it used to be called Talking Books. It sort of still is, I guess, to some of us who remember those terminologies. But yeah, we’re blind people are in books created for blind people are exempt from standard copyright laws. And so in the in the United States, contacting the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, print impaired or print disabled, however you want to call it, readers, they record books. Now, it’s only available to blind and other print challenged people. But it is also a place where you might look at going. But did you did you publish the book yourself? Or was it?
Ian Walker 22:55
I went through through a Christian Faith Based publisher in Canada called Word allied press. Okay, so yeah. And I would
Michael Hingson 23:07
think that they should be able to help you get the book out on programs like Audible.
Ian Walker 23:14
Yeah, well, that’s, that’s kind of in the works. So we’re just just setting up the time, then, you know, the studio time to be able to do it. And I’m hoping I’m hoping to have it done. You know, probably by the fall, so yeah.
Michael Hingson 23:31
Well, when we did thunder dog back in 2010, and 2011. It was published by Thomas Nelson sets, the largest Christian publisher, now part of Harper Collins. Yeah, I didn’t read it. They actually had someone else read it. But they did make that part of the process. And I kind of encouraged and someone insisted that it needed to also be an audio book. As it turns out, the Library of Congress has also produced it along with our second book running with Roselle so that they’re directly available to blind people. Of course, you know, it’s always nice when people buy it through audible, as opposed to the Library of Congress because these poor starving authors, dogs, and our dogs make a little bit of money. So you know, Alamo my guide dog always says, whenever we travel, please tell people to buy books because we’re running low on kibbles. You know?
Ian Walker 24:25
Michael Hingson 24:28
But, but tell me more about, you know, the book. Okay.
Ian Walker 24:30
And so, um, so for the longest time, you know, I was really thinking about should I write a book and just, just sort of sitting down and thinking about the process and, you know, like, this is, this is my first effort. I’ve had other you know, other pieces published in different sort of music publications and things like that, but So, um, but I just went, Oh, can I do this? So I sat down, and I just sort of came up with potential chapter, you know, like, chapter titles. And then and, you know, wanted to start at the beginning and, and sort of worked my way through. And that’s how I started to do it. And so it took about five years to write. Some things were very easy that just flowed really well. Some of the other real difficult issues took a long time, one particular chapter, in dealing with the relationship with my ex wife, I wrote at least 50 times, and, and then I sent it to my publisher, and, you know, I got it back with lots of red ink and crossbow this and, and, and said, No, in, we’ve taken your chapter, we’ve added it now. And if you want to publish with us, it has to be this way. And, and I went, you know, and when I read it, and I’m like, Oh, my goodness, like, why did this take me so long to you know, but it’s the process of getting it out. Right, the good as well as the bad. And, and so I was really, really happy, you know, when I read their sort of version of that particular chapter. And, and then, you know, different things just started to come along way. So the first part is about the difficulties of dealing with ADHD from a from a child to, you know, to early 20s. But the other part is about the success of my career is working in arts management, in choral and, well, choral arts management, and I’ve done some orchestral, but most of my career, so I’ve worked with some major choral organizations in Canada. And, you know, I’ve worked with some incredible artists. And so I’m not sure if you’re familiar with marine forester, she’s an amazing classical vocal artists, she was, you know, big in the 40s. To, to the early 2000s. And she had an opportunity to sort of work with her, and she sort of took me under her wing. I’m an alumnus of the Tanglewood Institute program for actually called Boston University Tanglewood Institute. And so when I was down at Tanglewood, in 1981, I got to spend 20 minutes with Leonard Bernstein, and had an amazing conversation with him about one of his choral pieces. And, you know, the other one who comes to mind is like, an over 10 year relationship with Sir David Wilcox that’s he’s the conductor for or was the conductor for King’s College, Cambridge. You know, what Christmas times Christmas from Kings is usually broadcast and Oh, my goodness, that, you know, well, so David was just one of the most amazing and generous people I’ve ever met my life. And so we, you know, became friends. And then we emailed for over 10 years, you know, right up to Lee. He was in his early 80s, then right up to his early 90s. And he lived to be 95. And, you know, so I wanted to talk about the other side of my career, which was still having a disability, but basically getting to do what I wanted to do, which was to work in music. And, you know, I talked about some of the teachers that I, I worked with, and, you know, choral experiences. And
Ian Walker 29:23
so I it’s, it’s genuinely an arts book, for that arts person in your family who you don’t know what to deal with.
Michael Hingson 29:34
Yeah. So when you went, by the way when you were done and tinker with Did you ever get to sing with the Boston Symphony?
Ian Walker 29:40
No, because our program was a young artists vocal program. But, but we had all kinds of speakers coming in throughout the summer. We were there for eight weeks. And it was an incredible program. and no says You didn’t come and speak to us. But we could go at any time, you know, with the student card and go and listen to rehearsals all the time. And our, our, our choral director just recently passed away Leonard Atherton, who used to be a part of University of Muncie, Indiana. But he was a Canadian first. And he did some work up here, like just not very far from where I live in Hamilton, Ontario. And so I was just amazed, choral people that he knew, and that I knew, and then, you know, we come down to dangle wood, and, you know, it becomes International. So, so it’s wonderful. And our group are has stayed together this summer, this coming summer, we’ll celebrate 41 years, that and we’ve got composers, we’ve got conductors, we’ve got singers that had had incredible careers. And so we’re just, you know, through the wonder of the internet, that we’re able to still, you know, stay connected. We’ve got about three reunions throughout the years to that’s pretty Tanglefoot.
Michael Hingson 31:22
How long did it take you to act? How long did it take you to write the book?
Ian Walker 31:27
Well, it was about five years. And then I was looking for the right publisher, and I was going to publish with one in the States. But there was some problems with, you know, the price of the book then and having to add the tariff coming back on and, you know, for a paperback it was going to be like between 35 or $40 for, you know, who would pay that. So. So, I’m connected with a very wonderful group here called the word guild, for Christian writers, and Christian folk who write for, you know, for Christian media. And so some of my friends said, Ian, why don’t you check out word alive press. And it’s been a very good, you know, association being connected with them. So they, they really helped me get the book out there. And now it’s gone into 43 International bookstores on website, I am just, it’s gone all over the world. The last it was in China, and it was being looked at in Russia, I was just totally blown away. So
Michael Hingson 32:45
exciting. It is.
Ian Walker 32:47
And, you know, I’m working on a second book right now. So but it’s not gonna have you know, I’ve already told my story, you know, now, it’s time to finesse and, and have some fun.
Michael Hingson 33:03
Yeah, we’re, we’re sort of in the same boat, Thunder dog having been publishing it, and it tells my story. And we have talked in previous episodes of unstoppable mindset about working on another book, and I interviewed Carrie Wildkin, who I’m working with who’s collaborating with me on writing it. We also had Susie Florian, who’s the lady who wrote and helped me write. She’s a professional writer, and she helped me write thunder dog. She is also very involved with Christian writers on the west coast. So we should probably introduce the two of them. That would be wonderful. All right, yeah, I’ll do that this afternoon. But we, but we are now getting ready to write another book. And this one’s going to be more about fear, and learning to better address and control fear and make it more of a positive thing then, when something happens and you just become so blinded by fear that you can’t move forward or do any do anything. So our tentative title is the guide dogs Guide to Being brave me having worked with a guide dogs, and you’re just about to have a contract signed on that, which is really exciting. So we’ll be awesome. We’ll be telling people about that as it moves forward. But I I’m with you the stories out there. So now it’s time to be able to branch out and do other things. Yeah, but
Ian Walker 34:33
that’s really interesting that you you’re, you know, looking at writing a book about fear because I’ve really felt in the last little while that a lot of ADHD issues, open the door to fear. And I was thinking about writing a book on fear, but but I just I’ve seen it, you know, time and time again, and I A lot of like, part of, you know, part of my journey has really also been to just break down the doors and say, I’m not going to be held by fear anymore. And, you know, I mean, it took me 27 years to get that degree and I was bound and determined that I was going to get it. I, you know, I didn’t think it was going to take that long. But there, you know, and there were elements of fear that I had to break through and just say, No, I’m not going to I’m not going to let that, you know, just one little element stopped me from achieving my goal.
Michael Hingson 35:37
Hence, the concept of unstoppable. Exactly, yeah. Let me ask this. I’m just curious, have you have animals been a part of your life and help you and moving forward in any way?
Ian Walker 35:52
Yes, we growing up, we had an amazing Labrador, and her name was shadow, black lab. And when I would have bad days, she would always come near me, and sit with me. And just she sensed that you know, that I’d had a bad day or had been bullied or whatever. And we had a tent trailer. So sometimes, if it was a really bad day, I’d go out underneath one of the beds and sit with her just, you know, for half an hour or 45 minutes. And she just helped me to really calm down. And then, Elaine, and I, my second wife, we have a Shih Tzu have a niece and her name is Faith. And oh, my goodness, she is such a good dog. And I recently had some health issues. And she came and sat with me almost every day, you know, while I was recovering. And, yeah, so Oh, yes. I love animals
Michael Hingson 37:05
very well, we,
Ian Walker 37:08
I’m not a cat person. They’re the only thing I like we
Michael Hingson 37:15
we are now going to draft you to be interviewed for the book. Great. So I think there’s, there’s a story there. And I think it will be fun to make it part of the book because we will be talking to other people. And
Ian Walker 37:33
I would love to write a story for that. That’d be wonderful.
Michael Hingson 37:36
Well, we’ll get we’ll get you interviewed, and we’ll be working on that. Definitely. Okay. But, but you know, it’s it is interesting animals have such a positive effect on all of us. If, if we allow that. And I understand you’re not a cat person. We do have a cat. Yeah. Okay. And she is the most verbal creature. I think I have you ever known. She talks to us all the time. We rescued her. And it took her a couple of months to decide that maybe we were reasonable creatures to have in her house. You know how cats are. So, so we we do have a great relationship with her. And she’s good. She’s on reason.
Ian Walker 38:21
I don’t like taxes. I’m allergic to them.
Michael Hingson 38:24
So yeah, I understand that.
Ian Walker 38:27
You know, a couple of my friends have some tolerable cats that
Michael Hingson 38:34
we had. When we lived in many years ago in Mission Viejo, California. We had neighbors, whose kitchen faced our kitchen, and they discovered that from time to time, I would drag out my ice cream freezer and make homemade ice cream. We actually had okay, why we actually had wireless intercoms between the two kitchens. And whenever they looked through their window and saw the freezer going, they would announce that they’d be over with bowls and spoons about 630 or seven o’clock. And sure enough, Alan Linda would show up with bowls and spoons. We also had to we also had two cats. They were sisters. Yeah. Al was not a cat person. These two cats every time he came over, would jump up on the couch where he was sitting and they would wrap themselves around his head and purr and purr and you knew that he was a little bit uncomfortable. But what’s funny is what’s what’s really funny is eventually there was a cat in the neighborhood that would occasionally go to their house and he fed the cat and suddenly the cat adopted him. And he became a cat person, which was really hilarious.
Ian Walker 39:49
Michael Hingson 39:51
But But animals are a part of our lives in so many ways. So you took five years to write the book was published in 2018. And it’s doing Yes. Hmm. Let me ask this. So you come from a musical family, obviously. Yes. Your, your parents and so on. Do you have any, any musical relatives that maybe some of us would have heard of?
Ian Walker 40:19
Yes, I do. So on my grandmother’s side, my great uncles and everything, generally, we’re all very artistic, loved music or arts or, or. And so my third cousins are Jonathan and Jordan night from the New Kids on the Block. So, and we got to see them in concert, because I’m about 10 years older than they are. So
Michael Hingson 40:54
that’s why there’s a new kids.
Ian Walker 40:56
That’s right. So we got to see them in concert in, I think it was around 2014 or 15. And I understand they’re coming to Toronto again in the near near future, I think. I think this coming June or something anyways. Yeah. So. So they’re, you know, that that’s pretty amazing that but vocal and choral music have been a part of my mom’s side of the family. I have other cousins, second cousins or third cousins that have also been in some international choirs and, you know, sang in church choirs as well as you know, community when cousin, she’s sung in the Toronto Mendelssohn choir for a number of years. So which is 160 voice choir?
Michael Hingson 41:49
You were part of that for a while, weren’t you?
Ian Walker 41:51
I was I was in the Toronto Mendelssohn youth choir. And that was wonderful. And as a result, Robert Cooper, who has been my good friend and mentor, he was the artistic director of that, that program, and oh, my goodness, we, we had wonderful, wonderful years wonderful training. And I have still about, you know, good 10 or 15. Friends from from those years that we’ve still stayed in touch, and that’s also at least at the 40 year mark, too. So.
Michael Hingson 42:29
Well, I have to ask, do your third cousins acknowledge you as members of as a member of the family?
Ian Walker 42:36
Oh, yeah, they know, checking? Yeah, they know who I am, what you see their grandmother was my favorite great aunt. Okay. And so, she is mentioned in the book quite a lot. And, and she was an amazing painter. I have like five or six of her paintings in my house. And, and so the eldest, Jonathan knew her fairly well as the Jonathan Jordan was a couple years behind. And so, you know, he didn’t get to spend as much quality time as, as Jonathan did, to, you know, connect with her. They were living in Boston, so yeah, so, but she was wonderful. Oh, my goodness, I love spending time with my aunt all of
Michael Hingson 43:35
Well, obviously, ADHD was something that you you dealt with very well, but even so, and music helped that, but help you deal with that. But was was your ADHD ever a problem when you were dealing with music singing or studying music?
Ian Walker 43:54
And that’s really interesting, because some other people have asked me that, no, you know, and the, like, the only thing that I have a problem with right now, maybe it’s partly age, but is memory. And so when I’m memorizing words in with music, there’s no problem. When I have to memorize like, you know, written script part. It is, it’s a real difficult time unless I sort of have worked out some, you know, some steps along the way, like, Okay, I’m telling this part of the story, and this is what it means in depth. So that, you know, and it’s kind of like I have to sort of like do a, a plot analysis. But when I’m learning music, with lyrics and music together, there’s no problem. And I would love to, to see an MRI of my brain to trying to do one or the other, just to you know, to understand what what’s going on. out there, why what, you know, problems.
Michael Hingson 45:06
But it’s interesting that you can use that as a breakthrough to really, in a lot of ways get beyond the absolutely HD.
Ian Walker 45:15
Yeah, yeah. And also, they say after 50 That your ADHD, you know, lessons, and mine certainly did. But the other thing that I wanted to stress too is I’ve chosen since I was 12 or 13 years old to be non medicated. So I have used music as my therapy. So I have a catchphrase music versus medicine. And that has worked so well for me.
Michael Hingson 45:53
So you sing that great thing. Yes. Do you Do you play any musical instruments? Yes. Besides kazoo
Ian Walker 46:03
No, I don’t play kazoo, but I cannot play because you know, but I play flute accordion and piano and as well as voice
Michael Hingson 46:11
Yeah. Well, then you can work on because you could work on kazoo.
Ian Walker 46:16
I could work on kazoo. Yeah.
Michael Hingson 46:19
That that should go well with football I would think.
Ian Walker 46:22
Yeah, the right part. I’m going to be a new what’s his name? Bobby. You know that. Don’t worry. Get Don’t worry. Be happy. Yeah, some? Yeah. That well, he is an incredible musician, incredible singer. And so he can think like he can hum and sing Mozart parts and and then I love it when people come and we’ll sing harmony with them or whatever. Oh, it’s really mix Aaron Bobby McFerrin. I know, even Ferran
Michael Hingson 46:57
right. Yeah. We we are great fans here. My wife and I have acapella music. We listen a lot to groups like Straight No Chaser. Are you familiar with them? No, don’t know them. They’re a group of 10 students who went to to college in Indiana, formed a group saying some then didn’t do anything. And then later got all got back together. Now they have a number of of albums. And it’s all acapella. Which is really wonderful. And the harmony is great. And they, they, they sing one of my favorite Christmas songs who spiked the eggnog, you have to hunt it down and listen, oh, that’s it. It’s really cool. It’s really clever. And, but but, you know, music is so much a part of all of our lives. And I’m glad that for you, it really is able to, to mean so much and do so much. So from a professional standpoint. You graduated from college? And then what did you do?
Ian Walker 48:10
Well, then I worked a lot in different arts organizations. So in now, like, you know, because it took such a long time to get the degree and, you know, get myself established and because I’m an arts consultant, so I deal in public relations, marketing and fundraising. And I’ve had a various number of clients, you know, throughout the years. Now, with COVID, some things are starting to, you know, pick up again, but it’s me time, I’ve wanted to really do a cabaret evening. So I’ve just started working with this amazing music director, her name’s Don Martens. She’s here, right here in the Hamilton area. She’s so talented, and I just love working with her. So our plan is, for September, we’re going to do a backyard concert to you know, try it out, we’re going to do six to eight or eight, eight to 12 songs or so. And then we’ll we’ll try it out her husband does all the sound and the lighting. And then we’ll see how it goes. And if it’s ready to be, you know, shipped, then we can start promoting it when I also do other book signing events.
Michael Hingson 49:34
How many people will be involved in that? In terms of singing? Yeah,
Ian Walker 49:37
yeah. Well, I’ve tried to do something different with my book signing events. I’ve tried to always sing. So you know, do three or four pieces. And, and that’s all gone overwhelmed with people that you know, don’t know me. But the other exciting news is I’m working on an album. So so this is the first time You can find me on the internet. And, you know, I’ve just done a whole Christmas community thing with the Dundas Baptist Church, which was our home church, we, my family was there for over 50 years. But Don put together this wonderful sort of community program during COVID. And so I’ve got a good, good piece on there. So and now we’re going to be we’re going to be putting together six songs to to, you know, to start an album, so I’m really excited about that. That’s been, I’ve wanted to do an album for a long time. And so we’re gonna have the gospel, inspiration, style and one Christmas song.
Michael Hingson 50:52
Where can people find out? Where can people find your singing today? Well,
Ian Walker 50:55
as soon as I yeah, you can go to my website. And if you can sign up, I do a newsletter vote every, you know, either once a year or six every six months? And do you want me just to tell you the new website,
Michael Hingson 51:14
or Sure, we’ll, we’ll do it later as well. But sure, go ahead.
Ian Walker 51:18
So it’s Emily in E M, Lian, communications plural.org. And if you go to that website, and there’s a, you know, become a friend, join my website, just give us your name and your email address, we’d love to have you, you know, come on board, and then you’ll be able to see my, my events. So but the other odd other real exciting big news is, I’ve written a play about the book. And I taken seven characters, and created a 60 minute play about dealing with ADHD, and using music therapy. So and it’s going to be called stirring my soul to sing. And we’re going to be premiering it in July here within the Greater Toronto Area. We’re just waiting for confirmation. But I think it’s going to be done as Baptist church because they have a wonderful sanctuary area, that will just work perfectly. We’re going to kind of do it, what I refer to as opera and concert style. So music stands with scripts, and it’s gonna kind of like an old time radio show, we’re going to begin to try that, that format out. And so I’m really, really excited about that and information, how to get tickets, as all my will be on my website very soon.
Michael Hingson 53:02
Cool. Well, that’s pretty obviously pretty exciting all the way around in terms of the things that you’ve accomplished. I’m interested to know a little bit more about what it means to be an art consultant.
Ian Walker 53:14
Oh, well, you know, I’ve worked in, in that position. And as for 30 years, so you know, working with different arts organizations, you learn a multiple level of skills. And so excuse me, when I started off, I was working in marketing, and I loved marketing. And then, you know, you as part of, because I was in an apprenticeship program, so we had had to move around, you know, and learn so many skills. So then I was taught, I think I was like, a month or so in the box office. So I learned box office skills. And then, you know, some of the events that I was working on in marketing promoted me to learn more about PR. And then also that summer I learned fundraising as I was on the phone selling tickets for, you know, for the orchestra. So all of those
Ian Walker 54:17
skills became a what’s what I call now an art consultant. So I have, I’ve raised $2.5 million for Arts and Social Sciences.
Ian Walker 54:30
And before I’m done when I’m ready to retire I’m aiming for my goal is going to be 5 million. So, so I got another 2.5 to go. You can do it. I think I can do it. Yeah, cuz I’m not ready to retire yet. And I’m just in my early 60s. So
Michael Hingson 54:47
there Yeah, there you go. Yeah. So in addition to being an arts consultant, what are you doing to help prepare the next generation whether it’s a In art, or I’m more curious to hear what you would say about helping people in the future dealing with ADHD.
Ian Walker 55:08
Absolutely. And my whole thoughts is, you know, I want to be able to give back. So I’m, I’m, as we’re just starting to, you know, put things together for the production, I’m going to have two or three students, that will be learning stage managing, or, you know, and I’m hoping that these are kids that have some disability issues, you know, if it’s a DD ADHD or a DD to be able to see how to use your energies, you know, is really important, and to have the right people there to help steward you, you know, in that, in that process is really important. So, so we’re going to do that. I’ve been speaking to Chamber of Commerce, you know, in the within the community, as a, as a public speaker, and talking about ADHD, and disability in in the classroom, and how important it is that the shaming stops blaming, and the shaming stops, you know, and that disability is part of our lives, as artists as, as whatever that, you know, we continue to grow, and to have tolerance for people that have a difference, you know, then then, then the normal person. And so those are really important things. And, and I had built that into my company that we will have students or we will have assistants that have ADHD, or whatever. And that, you know, we will be working with with adults of disability, in our projects that we’re doing into the future,
Michael Hingson 57:09
will is clearly a person who has a lot of knowledge about ADHD, especially from the first person’s point of view. Have you found? Have you found challenges using websites and the internet? Being a person experiencing ADHD?
Ian Walker 57:28
Um, sometimes, like, I’m just because we’re, you know, coming out of COVID now, and just bombardment of emails, like, you know, I mean, I get over, sometimes, like, over 150 emails, now I gotta start going through, get rid of the sales stuff.
Michael Hingson 57:48
But that takes care of 149 of them. But go ahead.
Ian Walker 57:51
See, there you go. Right. And, and so the thing is, I just, I get exasperated, I get tired. From
Michael Hingson 58:01
websites. Have you had challenges on going to visit web pages?
Ian Walker 58:06
Not so much? No. Because I’ve just discovered now, and I love this, especially on, you know, on the Kindle books, whatever, that those kinds of books and web pages can read back to you. You don’t have to read everything. And I love this. And so. So now with the upgrade and you know, software through Microsoft web pages, if I’m tired or at it, you know, they can can voice activate and read to me, which is wonderful.
Michael Hingson 58:44
One of the reasons that I asked the question is that is you may know, if you’ve looked at me a lot, I work for a company called accessiBe, which is a company that manufactures products that make webpages and websites accessible and accessiBe. It deals with a variety of disabilities and actually allows you to activate profiles to address specific issues like in terms of ADHD, a lot of noise on websites and other things like that. And AccessiBe has a profile specifically intended to deal with websites that can be a challenge for some people with ADHD to make them much more usable. So if you get a chance, you might check it out. It’s,
Ian Walker 59:33
I wouldn’t use it. Yeah.
Michael Hingson 59:37
Yeah, I will A C C E S S B E, I will I’ll send you some information. Because it might very well be that there is a great partnership that can evolve from that around the wonderful accessiBe likes to work with people who have disabilities and who know more than than we do. So yeah, it’s it’s good to establish that but the way it works is that there are a number profiles that accessiBe be deals with and ADHD and, and other cognitive disabilities are profiles that can be activated. So it certainly makes sense for us to get you and some of the folks that accessiBe together.
Ian Walker 1:00:16
Michael Hingson 1:00:18
Well, we have been doing this a long time. And we could go on and on and on. But we both probably have lots to do. But I’d like to do this again. But I really, thank you for your time being here today to talk about a lot of this. And I’d like you to go through again, if people want to get a hold of you not sending you sales emails. Okay, how can they reach out to you?
Ian Walker 1:00:45
Okay, so my website is www.E M L I A N communications. So C O M M U N I C A T I O N S .org Emliancommunications.org. Now, there’s an easier way to remember if you just Google Walker, or Stirring Walker ADHD, it will also bring up all the information that you need to know about me and the book.
Michael Hingson 1:01:30
And if people want to email you,
Ian Walker 1:01:33
you can email me at info@Emliancommunications.org.
Michael Hingson 1:01:41
Well, thank you very much for being here. I know it’s taken us a while to get together. But I am so glad that we finally were able to do it and have a chance to really chat. I’ve got to ask, do you do a podcast?
Ian Walker 1:01:56
I do. And I just started it. It’s called the arts report music for the ADHD brain. And it’s on Spotify. It’s on a couple others, you can find it on my website. We’re going to be adding some more to it. It’s just been, you know, time to I’ve got some programs in the can that just have to be edit it. And well, thank God I have somebody who’s amazing that does that. I don’t have to do that. That’s not my that’s not my, my specialty.
Michael Hingson 1:02:33
You do? No, that’s
Ian Walker 1:02:34
not what I do. Well, I like being able to have a producer say hey, what do you think about this? And
Michael Hingson 1:02:41
do you deal with some of the PATA Palooza folks?
Ian Walker 1:02:44
Just starting to get into that. So in been very grateful of the new connections that we’re we’ve made there. So of course, you’re one of those. So that’s, that’s wonderful.
Michael Hingson 1:02:59
Well, again, what’s the name of the podcast?
Ian Walker 1:03:02
So it’s called the arts report music for the ADHD brain.
Michael Hingson 1:03:09
Well, if you ever need a guest to come on and talk about something esoteric or another, let me know we’d love to do
Ian Walker 1:03:16
that because we want to talk about disability as well. So you know and overcoming disability so love to have you on Michael when we can can schedule that.
Michael Hingson 1:03:27
Let’s do it. All right, in locker thanks again for being here. And I want to thank you for listening to us today. I hope you’ve enjoyed your time within reach out to him. I am sure that he won’t treat your email as a sales email. He’s he’s responded to mine pretty well. So I guess he he liked me can distinguish between what’s real and what’s not. But I want to thank you all for listening to unstoppable mindset. We sure appreciate a five star rating wherever you are listening to this podcast. And if you’d like to reach out and talk to me possibly be a guest on the podcast or just share your thoughts. You can go to www.Michaelhingson.com/podcast that’s www.M I C H A E L H I N G S O N.com/podcast or email me at Michaelh M I C H A E L H I at accessiBe.com accessiBe is spelled A C C E S S I B E. And again, we mentioned the concept of accessiBe dealing with a variety of disabilities. If you want to learn more about accessiBe , please visit www.accessibe.com. But again, thanks for listening and Ian, thanks very much for being here today.
Ian Walker 1:04:53
Thank you so much, Michael. It’s been great hanging out with you today.
Michael Hingson 1:04:57
It’s been my honor as well. Thank you
Michael Hingson 1:05:03
You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you’ll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you’re on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you’re there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com. accessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.