Reporting John Lauritsen
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s been four months since 18-year-old Zach Sobiech passed away after a hard-fought battle with bone cancer. But even in death, his music lives on.
Days after he passed away, Sobiech’s song “Clouds” reached number one on iTunes. The song has raised more than $500,000 for children’s cancer research.
And now, Zach’s life-long friend and bandmate is hoping to add to that through her own music.
It was a year ago that Zach wrote “Clouds.” With just months to live, it was his way of saying goodbye. And one of the first people he shared it with was his best friend Sammy Brown.
“He was like, ‘I wrote this song,’ and he went to the bathroom. And he came back and I was crying, like most people when they hear it,” said Brown.
“Clouds” took the music world by storm. After Sobiech died, it passed dozens of big name artists to reach #1 on iTunes for four days.
“Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, Katy Perry, it was going straight to number one. There was no stopping it,” said Scott Herold, founder of Sobiech’s record label and the non-profit “Rock the Cause.”
While “Clouds” has inspired thousands, it’s Sobiech who has inspired Brown. In February, she wrote her own song about Sobiech.
She was at a church retreat and was handed a pamphlet titled “How to Go to Confession.” It was on that pamphlet that she began writing what she was feeling.
“I got home and I showed Zach. And I said, ‘I wrote this song, but I’m not sure what to call it.’ He said, ‘Well it looks like it’s already titled for you,’” she said.
“How to Go to Confession” isn’t a confession but a tribute to Sobiech’s life.
The hope is that when Brown’s song is released in October, it will help raise thousands of dollars for children’s cancer research just as “Clouds” did.
“Hopefully it will do well enough to help out the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund,” she said.
Brown says with Sobiech, music always came from the heart. The two, along with friend Reed Redmond, formed the band A Firm Handshake. Last winter they were part of a benefit concert at Varsity Theatre.
While Sobiech may be gone, Brown knows it’s music that keeps him alive.
“Sometimes it doesn’t feel like he’s gone. Sometimes it feels like he’s gone. But I hold all the memories very dear to me and things are okay,” she said.
Herold believes Brown’s song could ultimately raise a couple hundred thousand dollars for children’s cancer research.
The Twin Cities band Quietdrive also released a tribute song to children who lost their lives to cancer. Proceeds from that song are also going to cancer research.