Marc Roberge, the lead singer for O.A.R, decided to put aside the fame of rock n’ roll and give back to the community. With the 2015 Special Olympics around the corner in Los Angeles, Roberge teamed up with Coca-Cola to write a new song with Breanna Bogucki, singer and Special Olympics athlete, to help promote the Special Olympics.
On July 25, over 7,000 athletes will gather in Los Angeles to compete in an event that brings people together. We had the opportunity to talk with Marc Roberge of O.A.R and Breanna Bogucki about the Special Olympics and its incredible impact.
Inquisitr: Marc, how did you get involved with the Special Olympics initially?
Marc: “I got involved because Coca-Cola, along with the Special Olympics, came up with the concept of, ‘Reach Up.’ I believe they wanted to have a song that represented their symbol. A symbol for Special Olympics World Games is something with their arms stretched up, that of a champion.”
“They needed an anthem, something that could rally people. Not only to just be involved like an athlete or an athlete’s family, but also everybody else. Everyone who may not know the event is coming to L.A. and back on U.S. soil for the first time in 16 years. They needed a song because music speaks universally, something to spread out there and bring the focus to Madison and Bre and their effort and accomplishment of singing an amazing performance for this song.”
“That performance would then inspire people not only to share the video, but inspire them to do something great. I think we’re all capable of greatness, with disabilities or not. You’re capable of greatness and sometimes you need a reminder of that. I think this song is a reminder of that and I got involved because Coke brought that to my attention and gave me the opportunity to do so.”
Inquisitr: Breanna, moving over to you. What does the Special Olympics, in general, mean to you?
Breanna: “I’ve been in Special Olympics for nine years, I didn’t really do much before then. I didn’t have many friends. With Special Olympics, it taught me teamwork. It taught me to be independent. It taught me to make friends and showed me that I can do things like everyone else. It gave me an environment that was safe and accepting that didn’t make me worry about who was going to judge me or the buzzer being too loud.”
“I feel that the program is really great with trying to show that people with disabilities can do things and now show what they can’t do, but what they can. It shows they can have success just like everyone else.”
Inquisitr: Now, what was it like recording the song, “Reach Up,” in a Hollywood studio?
Breanna: “Well, I love Marc, Madison and Cody. I feel like they’re all so wonderful to work with. They’re all so genuine and sweet. We’re all like a family. It was really fun to record with them, especially the gang vocal. The opportunity was so amazing and I’m so honored and blessed to be apart of it. I can’t really put it into words because it’s so amazing.”
Inquisitr: You touched on it already, but what inspired you to write the song?
Marc: “I’ve had the opportunity in my life to come across a few people both in my extended family and in my community who’ve faced the challenge with down syndrome, autism, OCD, or any of these ‘disabilities.’ Every single one of these folks has the ability to inspire me. They have the ability to get me to be more present and appreciate my days and time here.”
“So, when the song opportunity came up, I drew on that. I drew on the life of my wife’s cousin, Nadia, who is an amazing person grown with down syndrome. Who is now part of a cheerleading squad out of Montgomery County, Maryland called the ‘Joy Squad.’ Their going to be raising money to get out to the Special Olympics. I just drew upon my experiences observing their lives, their families and everything they go through. As an observer of that, you can’t help but appreciate happiness when you see it.”
“I see that with Bre and with Madison. Despite what some people may call disabilities, these girls don’t ever focus on that at all. I don’t ever hear them complain or talk about something they can’t do. So, that inspiration is easy. Just to spend time with these guys and see them singing in the studio and doing it without a complaint over and over again, it was very impressive. The inspiration continues and the song is a work in progress. Experience continues to lend new ways to look at this song. I’m very thankful.”
Inquisitr: Breanna, Marc just said you inspire him to do better. What does it feel to inspire somebody to that degree and to have an impact on somebody that’s very special?
Breanna: “Well, what I want to do with my life is to inspire people and I want to help people. I want to make a difference in this world and to know that I affected someone. It makes me feel that I accomplished that goal. It makes me really happy that I’m that powerful to make someone feel good and I want to do something about it.”
“That just makes me happy that I reached someone so deeply that they want to do something too. They can say, ‘You know, Bre and Madison inspired me to do this.’ Just to have us have that title is just powerful to me and I think that’s great.”
[Image via Coca-Cola]