Suki Marie: defying stereotype

21 Oct 2020, 3:23 p.m.

Suki Marie is a patient at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) with Down Syndrome. Suki Marie is also an incredibly talented musician, achieving second place against similar aged contestants, in competitions where no concessions were made for her disability.

Born to Indie Rock parents Roxanne Fontana and Mat Treiber, Suki Marie’s musical talents began at an early age, when she received a Schoenhut baby piano for her first birthday, moving on to a full-sized piano by around seven years old.

“Suki Marie plays pretty much every day and can play for many hours,” begins her mum, Roxanne. “It is safe to say that she can play and sing up to 200 - 300 songs at this point - age 17. She loves most types of music, from jazz to classical. She also has a love for 1960s French Pop music and knows many of those songs. Suki Marie has a special love for old school rock n roll most of all. Her favourites are Simon & Garfunkle, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, even Tom Jones! She has met a lot of her heroes including Keith Richards and Ralph McTell.”

Extraordinary talent

“We were alerted by the Down Syndrome Association London that singing in tune is very rare for people with Down Syndrome,” Roxanne says. “We visited there in 2012, and Suki Marie was singing away during our meeting. When the Education Psychologist told us, we researched it to find this is true, and have since boosted this by giving her singing lessons. Suki Marie loves to sing!”

The future for Suki Marie

“Music has been a medicine for us all, and creating music is an amazing outlet for Suki Marie. She really loves to play and has come very far – so much so that she is currently singing in care homes, entertaining everyone with Tom Jones hits, which go down a treat.

“It is my dream for everyone to see her play and sing. I really feel the arts is a good place to direct children with disabilities, as it is fun, a great learning tool and could be very rewarding going forward as well.”

Here’s a mini concert from Suki Marie, performing at the Strawberry Field Café in Liverpool:

 

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