Bilal: No More Fear
By Souleo Fearlessness is a trait more often learned than not since it takes unlearning to put aside life's limits in pursuit of one's path. Singer-songwriter, Bilal is finally finding his fearless factor through dealing with the conditions of his children who were diagnosed with autism and sickle cell anemia. It's a new attitude that pervades the genre-bending sound of his latest release, Airtight's Revenge which is in sharp contrast to the "neo-soul" sound of his debut 1st Born Second.
For the first time in-depth Bilal opened up to JimmyJazz.com about overcoming the denial of his children's conditions, how its made him a better parent and how he has learned the art of fearlessness all over again.
On overcoming denial:
It was sad for a minute especially with my oldest because we didn't know what was going on. So I was in denial for a minute. I think it really hit me when I took my son to a family event and there were my cousin's kids around his age and I saw the way they were acting in comparison to my son. It hit then that something was wrong with him.
On becoming a better parent:
I changed my son's diet and we eat a certain way. I teach my kids certain exercises like yoga stretches and things to focus my autistic son. For my son with the sickle cell disease he been blessed to not have any trauma yet. Most kids would have it around his age or earlier but he's been fine. The main thing is to make sure they don't feel like something is wrong with them. I really just take time out to study him because autistic children have unbelievable gifts and you just have to find them. So my son is really good at puzzles and he can do a 100-piece puzzle in ten minutes and he is good at problem solving with letters and numbers. He also has an eye for art so I get him tracing books and have him trace and draw.
On how his children's conditions have made him a better parent and musician:
They inspire me more as human beings than anything because its brought something out of me I didn't know I had in me. This is really been a test of character and it made me stronger. I'm also nuttier because I'm watching every little thing they do but I'm a better parent no less. One of the things about autism is they have no fear; they just do it. I've been reacquainted with that fearless curiosity through my son. It's made me focused on doing what I always set out to do with music and that's push the envelope and find my own sound and my own place.
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Check out Bilal's single, "Restart," here: