BAYONNE, NJ - A song penned to reflect the triumph of a former basketball star who suffered debilitating injuries in a 2004 hit-and-run traffic accident is taking on a new meaning as communities fight to overcome the onslaught of COVID-19.

The song was originally born from the shared talents of country music artist Nicole Nichols and guitarist/music producer Curt Ryle of Big Matador Recording in Nashville, after Nichols' husband, and one time basketball standout, Clarence Thompson, was left disabled from an accident on the New Jersey Turnpike.

Despite being in a coma for 16 days, fighting through 11 surgeries, and enduring 13 blood transfusions, following the accident that also left him in a wheelchair with a broken back and other injuries, the former athlete, once known as the “mad bomber” for his prowess on the court, fought back.

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The song that reflects Thompson’s struggle was to be used in a documentary about it. “Nicole brought the title to me because of Clarence,” Ryle said. “We were going to do a movie about his horrible experience.”

Fast-forward to the current crisis and Paul DeAngelo, a Bayonne based music producer, who met Thompson, Nichols and Ryle through a doctor they all knew, has steered the song in a different direction, helping to rewrite the lyrics so it could be used as an anthem to raise funds and awareness about COVID-19.

“We want to use it to raise money to help first responders,” Ryle said.

DeAngelo said the lyrics were inspired by words he’d heard coming from the Governor’s of New York and New Jersey. “They said we’re going to come back stronger than ever,” DeAngelo said.

Nichols, said she felt the intensity of the new song even as she performed it. “That’s the kind of artist I am,” she said. “This is something I believe in.”

With contacts in Hollywood, and throughout the music industry, DeAngelo is seeking to help create a number of concerts and TV shows around the song. The song is being featured at an online commencement in Georgia this week, and, according to DeAngelo, several professional baseball teams have promised to open their games with the song when the season starts up again.

“If other people want to use the song, they can,” DeAngelo said, as long as it serves the purpose of helping first responders.

Click here to learn more about the song and the fundraiser.


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