- Associated Press - Saturday, October 6, 2018

PHILADELPHIA, Miss. (AP) - Amy Lott’s musical adventures have taken some twists and turns over the years, but she found herself performing at the United Nations last week with a choir of young people accompanying her music.

A Meridian native, Lott, now of Philadelphia, was selected to participate as part of PeaceDay365’s activities following the U.N.’s official Peace Day set on Sept. 21. Lott not only performed, but also participated in a panel discussion where she discussed her own story and views.

“A lot of the reason they asked me to participate I think is because I grew up disabled,” Lott said.

Lott’s disability developed when she was in high school.

“In the tenth grade I was in a car accident and developed epilepsy,” she explains on her website.

Averaging up to five seizures a day, Lott was allergic to the main epilepsy drugs on the market and would remain so until a medical breakthrough when Lott was 30 produced a drug that helped control her seizures.

Both before and during her disability, Lott performed music.

Starting on the piano at age 3 in her hometown, Lott eventually began playing the clarinet. During high school, Lott placed in the Lions Club Band each of her three years in high school.

According to Lott, after her accident, her clarinet would be a constant companion, as would her seizure alert dog Princess. Lott said during this time music helped her to cope with her condition.

Eventually, Lott met other musicians who encouraged her to expand her musical horizons. Because of that Lott now plays the accordion, harmonica, flute and sings.

Eventually, her musical adventure brought her to the attention of fellow musician Drew Young.

Young first had Lott on his show “The Porch Sessions” and then helped her to expand her career, first at events like South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, to later performing in the U.K.

“Drew is the one that kind of arranged all of this,” Lott said. “Everyone felt like it would be a good fit, one of my songs fit the theme for the U.N. event and I was asked to speak about how music is one of those things that helps us come through our struggles.”

Lott said when she was initially approached to attend the event she was of the understanding that Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary fame was also supposed to perform.

“I ended up being the only musician there, so I had the whole spotlight,” Lott said.

Lott explained that she played in the SDG Media Zone as part of the 73rd session of the U.N.’s General Assembly. The SDG Media Zone is an initiative of the President of the U.N. General Assembly geared towards informational and entertainment options focused on the U.N.’s sustainable development goals.

Lott had several sessions last Monday where she performed by herself, towards the end of the day Monday she was accompanied by the Baja Musical Arts Initiative’s Childrens Choir.

Lott explained that the choir is made up of refugee children and that the experience was one she would never forget.

“Sunday I met the choir at St. Peters Church in New York,” Lott said. “It was really amazing because they had already heard my music and had been practicing some of the songs. It was kind of different to hear my songs sung in three-part harmony.”

Lott said that playing with a choir was a very new experience, but she really enjoyed it, noting that perhaps she should play with choirs, especially children’s choirs more often.

“I just couldn’t get enough of the kids,” Lott said. “After the event on Monday, we went back to the church on Tuesday and I performed again with the kids for their parents. That was probably my favorite part of the whole experience.”

One of the aspects of the event that Lott was concerned about that she said turned out to be an exciting experience is the panel discussion she was part of.

“I thought I would be more nervous, especially for the panel, but I was really more in awe,” Lott said. “It was a remarkable life changing event.”

Lott said one of the things that most impressed her was the opportunity to hear from and speak with people from all walks of life and the opportunity to hear from world leaders.

Lott said during her portion of the panel discussion she was asked to discuss how she has seen music change lives. Specifically the lives of children.

“I think music is a good thing to have in a kids life,” Lott said. “Music helps to promote overall well being and the opportunities it gives a young person are pretty important.”

Lott said that she feels the experience was life changing, not only for her but for her music as well.

“As a musician, I have a very open platform to spread a message,” Lott said. “I had the opportunity to meet a lot of young people who are promoting world peace and other things through social media. I feel like I can help share that message and share my music with more people through some of the things I saw there in New York.”

Lott said her first solo CD is about hope and she is hopeful that this experience in New York will afford her the opportunity to expand her horizons.


Information from: Neshoba Democrat, http://www.neshobademocrat.com

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