“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” – Bob Marley
It might be cliché of me to start this story with a quote, but that’s how I felt when I read Keyanna Guite’s letter. In it, she shares her journey, what the song ‘Demons’ from Imagine Dragons means to her and how she hopes to meet the band, someday.
It’s monday night and Imagine Dragons are performing in Montreal. I’m at the Bell Center and I’m standing next to a beautiful little girl. Before I share more, read her letter below:
“Hello. My name is Keyanna Guite (Kiki for short) and I am 9 years old. I was diagnosed with Leukemia (ALL) in July of 2013. I have been getting chemo treatment since then. I have been in and out of the hospital many times.
One day I was listening to a song that you guys wrote. I played it over and over again. One day my mother asked me why I was playing and listening to that song so many times. I said to her “YOU DON’T GET IT”. My mother said “I don’t get what”? I told her to listen to the song. So that night my parents listened to the song 2 or 3 times and then it CLICKED. Oh My God, they said. They realized what the song was about.
They came back and asked me what the song meant. I told them that the Demons inside me were my Cancer. Since then that song “Demons” has meant a great deal to me.
I know the song was dedicated to a young boy who had cancer and did not get to hear it but there are a lot of children who are hearing it for him. Thanks Great job.
I hope one day I get to meet you guys.
Love Keyanna Guite”
The opening act, The Naked and the Famous, is about to go onstage. Kiki kept on grabbing my phone, eagerly checking the time. “When is Angie (tour manager) coming?”… “text her and tell her she’s late!” – So, yes… I did text Angie. I wasn’t gonna mess with this little girl! She’s a complete badass and she probably could take me down in a second! Thankfully, soon after, Angie showed up and escorted her to meet the band. She suddenly went quiet, trying to tame down her nerves. Her cheeks were flushed – I couldn’t stop starring at her and I felt so honoured to have met her. Kiki was the first to meet the band, Dan Reynolds, the singer, kneeled down to greet her, she handed him her letter and he promised to read it. The band signed her t-shirt and in just under a minute, she got to cross off this moment from her bucket list.
The arena was packed, apparently this had been the biggest crowd on their tour. This was Kiki’s first rock concert – she was in awe with their performance and she often stared out at the crowed, transfixed in the beauty of lights that surrounded her. There’s a reason why Imagine Dragons won a grammy for “Best Rock Performance” – these guys know how to deliver! Their rapid success can not only be justified by their immense talent and ability to blend different genres of music, but by the great team that surrounds them. Dan Reynolds shared Tyler’s story onstage as Kiki smiled, proudly, knowing that his story has been and will be an inspiration for others. Lost in the moment and surrounded by her mother’s embrace, she sang every word to ‘Demons’. I can go on and on about this concert, but I’ll close it off with two great moments.
One – The band came out for an encore wearing their own custom Montreal Canadiens jerseys. Now, if you want to please a Montrealer or see them act crazier than a drunk person… take my advice and go by yourself a jersey. Two – someone from the audience threw her fluorescent pink bra onstage. Now, to some this is pretty common to see at a concert, but the look on a 9 year old’s face, witnessing something like that, is priceless! Kiki was so puzzled as to why someone would do such a thing and, of course, shock took over, when a few members of the band waved the bra for all to see.
Finally, my darling Kiki, I write this on behalf of me and all the readers. We look up to you – through your own foundation, you have managed to raise money for the Montreal children’s hospital and you’re fulfilling your purpose in helping others. There will be moments in which you feel weak and the pain will seem unbearable – times like these are lessons in which our strength is put to the test. As hard as it seems,it’s the process of growth. Always remember that music will help you get through anything, so in times of need, close your eyes and listen to songs from Imagine Dragons. Go back to that night and remember how you got acquainted with your new found energy. Out of all the lights that shined that night, you were the brightest in the room. Your love is pure and I thank you for showing me what it means to feel alive. You’re a brave girl and we’re all rooting for you.