Michael Buckholtz – Autism, Music & A Lot Moore

Leroy - Posted on 06 December 2011

Michael Buckholtz – Autism, Music & A Lot Moore

1) Krip-Hop Nation (KHN) - Most people have known that you worked with MC Hammer back in the day. Can you tell us your work back then compare to your music work today?

Michael Buckholtz: Thank you. Sure. The major difference is that I'm not actually writing for Hip- Hop artists much anymore. I mostly listened to jazz, rock, folk or some other popular music of the day when I was a kid, growing up in New Jersey. The music was diverse and I've come back to that. I didn't really work in Hip Hop until my good friend M.C. Hammer asked me to. Believe it or not, my diverse musical background prepped me perfectly for a career in music with Hammer. As of this moment, I'm working with an acoustic artist on APR music (Acoustic Pop Rock). I enjoy this style very much because it allows not only the artist to express himself or herself in the lyrical content, but, the music speaks to you, as well. The artist is Perrie Kitching at www.PerrieKitching.com.

2) KHN - Lately there has been all of this hoopla around autism everywhere from Hip-Hop charities to politicians. Tell us your experience and your non--profit in this field.

Michael Buckholtz: My involvement, in what's turning out to be a mad “gold rush” to capitalize on all things autism, started quite organically. I learned, back in 1993, that I was possibly on the autism spectrum along with my siblings and father. It wasn't until my nephew was born (and developing to become another autistic member of the family) that I decided maybe to learn more about this condition I might have. I took the time to become officially evaluated and am, indeed, on the autism spectrum. That discovery about my nephew and me snow-balled into wanting to do something for the Autistic Community that was direct and impactful. The focus of the non-profit (Aid for Autistic Children Foundation, Inc.) was to be simple, but comprehensive: Forgive the debt for qualified families raising autistic children or autistic adults experiencing serious financial hardship due to the unique nature of the autistic condition.

In as much as my experience is concerned, I lived the financial devastation that can come with having an autistic perspective on life. I continue to recover, however, I understand the need for fiscal responsibility in the lives of these families and autistic individuals first hand. I developed a system very much based on the basic principles of universal finance and my own families recovery from bankruptcy and unintentional financial indiscretion, all due to the unpredictability involved in raising children who are autistic or just being an autistic individual.

3) KHN - What do you think about Autism Speaks?

Michael Buckholtz: My diplomatic answer is this: What I think about Autism Speaks will not make any significant impact on the Autistic Communities direct immediate needs. Autism Speaks is doing exactly what it is designed to do.

4) KHN - Musically what are you working on and do you every write songs about the issues facing people in poverty living with autism or other disabilities?

Michael Buckholtz: Currently, I've signed an acoustic singer/songwriter named Perrie Kitching to my production company, Sunlight International Mgmt, Inc. (S.I.M., Inc.) I produced four singles on him to date. We are heavily in the promotion stage of his first single, “I Fell” (Letter of Love). Anyone can see what he's up to on www.PerrieKitching.com.

I actually have songs I've written specifically about the feelings one may have as a parent or person dealing with autism or being autistic. That's my personal experience and it organically tends to make it's way into my songwriting. I enjoy writing songs that talk about how people feel. Whether one is able or disabled, anyone of us can feel overwhelmed by the pressures of the world. All of us can relate to that. Having a disability amplifies many already heavy societal pressures. Those experiences can translate emotionally to anyone. That's how any song should be written, in my view. I write to include everyone in that experience no matter who they are.

5) KHN Tell us about your book, Autism Is My Universe: ...So How 'Bout We "Not" Call It A Disability!

Michael Buckholtz: It's a snapshot about different moments in my journey through life as a high- functioning autistic person and not really knowing I was. I simply wanted people to see my journey for what it is; a story about a quirky kid that grew into a quirky adult and still, somehow, made good on his promised goals to himself. I try not to sugar coat things, preach or prophesy. It's all about seeing how I made it, even though I didn't always have the facts. I was intellectually curious enough to keep moving forward and not dwell on what did not work in my life. Always seek to improve oneself no matter what your circumstance, especially if you are coping or accepting autism and being autistic. I'm also a very spiritually connected person. I hope that's the overarching message folks get from it.

6) KHN - What is your viewpoint about the Black community and their awareness around disability?

Michael Buckholtz: Within the Brown community, there still isn't enough attention on, or, the promotion of developing the needed intellectual curiosity to research what steps to take in making ones situation better, whether it's helping with the disabled or coping with a disability. There is, also, a disparity in the Brown community concerning the perception of how disabling a disability should be if one is brown. This generational cycle of ignoring a true disability or attempting to 'pray it away', is, sadly, the majority of the problem. Awareness isn't something that needs to be targeted at any one particular group. Disabilities affect all socioeconomic levels and nations of peoples. Empathy plays a large roll in being actively aware, but, no government could effectively mandate empathy, much like China is attempting to do now, after a the world was disgusted by how passersby let a small child lay bleeding in an ally after being struck by two vehicles. We all need to, daily, make a conscious effort to be looking out for each other as people.

All too often, excessive energy and resources within the Brown community are being spent trying to create the next Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Lil' Wayne or Jay Z. There needs to be a focus on another crop of George Washington Carver's, Garrett Augustus Morgan's, Philip Emeagwali's and Valerie Thomas's. If readers don't know who these people are, that's the whole of our problem. There, also, needs to be a non-prejudicial acceptance and approach to educating the disabled from the time they are
small children to when they've grown into adulthood. Everyone has the ability to learn regardless of the pace of learning. Overall, I believe awareness within the Brown communities is improving.

7) KHN- Do you think the music industry is ready for musicians with disabilities and how can we push the industry to do right?

Michael Buckholtz: No. I don't think it is. This music industrial complex is built on packaging what's perceived as beautiful, hip and cool. As long as this perception does not include persons with disabilities, no amount of pushing will create a corporate music empire with a conscience. However, if the brand of an individual recording artist gets to stratospheric proportions (like Lady GaGa), the impact of that artist promoting inclusion for the disenfranchised, disabled and the like would be much more substantial and sustained. An example is Sir Elton John and the AIDS fight. His internationally known brand, as a musician, brings much awareness, funding and action to the cause. The same needs to happen for the autistic community. That is my and Perrie Kitching's sincere intention. He WILL be the world's biggest music superstar (of his generation) to bring awareness, funding and action to autism and a few other charitable needs. The hard work to create this kind of a powerful brand for Perrie Kitching is going on as I do this interview.

8) KHN - I read that you, your father and brother all had some form of autism. Tell us in your work today how your agency reach the Black families espespeciallyack (especially Black) fathers with sons with autism?

Michael Buckholtz: Yes, my siblings and father all rest somewhere on the autistic spectrum. We all cope differently. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to discovering what works for whom.

Aid for Autistic Children Foundation is a national 501c(3) non-profit that is currently reaching out over the Internet. We lack the volunteers and funding to reach out in more organic hands on way. We cater to all regardless of nationality or ethnicity. Many issues with lack of reach do, I agree, fall squarely on the back of the agency. That agency needs to appeal in some way to everyone (brown people included) so they feel connected or drawn to that organization. I simply started with myself and a story. I'm a brown person. It's hard for me to ignore that fact. I don't hide it. On the non-profit website, I even open with a video (sponsored in part by The Dan Marino Foundation) that openly discusses discrimination.

Many father's in our Brown communities need tools. Some fathers simply need an adviser (or mentor) they can trust will confidentially listen to their concerns and hopes for their disabled child. Many just don't want the responsibility and there's very little any human being or agency can do to change a heart condition. Others simply just won't look for assistance due to pride, constant disappointment with other agencies or the perception that the United States system of societal inclusion does not include them, so, why even try (lack of trust). We understand this sort of thing exists and work hard to address these issues.

9) KHN - How can people help with your organization and music endeavors?

Michael Buckholtz: Simple. We are national, but, relatively small in structure. We are building. On our website at www.aacfinc.org, anyone can donate by pushing the donate button. That will take you to the donation page and give you a number of options for giving. A really cool method of support is to donate to get a lapel pin of our puzzle logo. It's the puzzle with a heart. Just add it to your cart. If you want to volunteer, the most one can do is collect funds for us, but, we are not yet structured to oversee those volunteers that wish to collect monies on behalf of Aid for Autistic Children Foundation. We are still growing and need funding to facilitate that. Help us build the foundation first, then we can fan out to do countrywide AACF, Inc. fund raising events, safely and legally monitored. We want all the funding to go to the families and autistic individuals.
The music side of things will be easy. I just need to make or produce good music with an equally good recording artist. I'll give the public what they want and the rest should be history. I did it once before and I still got it in me to do again. Just visit my Facebook Musician/Band page (Michael Buckholtz), “Like” it and follow the journey. Folks should, also, visit www.PerrieKitching.com and register as a fan to follow his journey with me. That site is the vehicle to take you wherever he goes in the industry. He's a young talented acoustic singer/songwriter that just wants to empower people to love and dream. I mostly want folks to love and dream about him. Haha!

10) KHN - What is in your future work/music wise?

Michael Buckholtz: The future for Aid for Autistic Children Foundation is to continue building its visibility. I want it to have the recognition of the Red Cross. When one hears “Red Cross”, we know help is on its way. I'm working to develop that kind of reputation for AACF, Inc.

As for the music, I'm also branching into movie scoring, gaming music and corporate commercials. Music, custom autos and motorcycles are kind of synonymous, so, I will be designing vehicles to auction off or simply display at auto shows to increase funding and visibility to AACF, Inc. As Sir Richard Branson says, I'm gonna “Do good, have fun...and the money will come.” I'm not going to worry about the financial part for me. I never have. I'm only concerned about getting done for the autistic community what needs to get done. That takes planning, hard work, patience and endurance. I've got all of that.

11) KHN - Last words and contact info

Michael Buckholtz: Huge hugs and thanks to everyone everywhere that has donated, participated and otherwise not hesitated to help Aid for Autistic Children Foundation, individuals in the autistic community or anyone with a disability. Everyone can contact us through www.aacfinc.org, or snail mail us a donation or suggestion at:

Aid for Autistic Children Foundation, Inc. c/o Admin Dept. P.O. Box 141 Macon, Georgia 30120-0141

To support the recording artist Perrie Kitching, simply register at www.PerrieKitching.com and become part of the music family that will be directly involved in raising awareness and funds for Aid for Autistic Children Foundation, Inc. along with other important charitable ventures. Supporting him supports those who are autistic, hungry, homeless and disabled. Thanks!


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