Recently I interviewed Sonny Hunter, a singer-songwriter from Houston, TX who wrote and recorded an inspirational cancer awareness song/video titled “Times in Life.” I was inspired by the song/video and thought you would also be inspired by its message. As Sonny explains, although the song has a strong anti-cancer message that can be about any cancer, he was particularly inspired to write this song when his father, who had prostate cancer, passed away in 2011.
What inspired you to write this song?
Sonny: “My dad had prostate cancer and passed on February 9, 2011, at the age of 83. Also one of the bass players that I worked with in my music recording died from prostate cancer. As I was dealing with these thoughts about the death of my dad and my friend, my grandfather passed on from a stroke. On the way to my grandfather’s funeral, a friend of my grandfather said: “I remember when times weren’t so confusing…” I started thinking about this statement and what it meant more and started incorporating that thought into lyrics I was already working on.”
Message not just for prostate cancer
“Besides my father with prostate cancer, I’ve had other cancers in my family. An aunt who passed of breast cancer and cousin with lung cancer.”
“When I wrote this song in 2011, originally I titled it “Cancer.” As I worked on post-production and marketing for the song, a music industry person I respect recommended that I re-title the song to help its appeal. I then renamed it “Times in Life” to make it more “radio friendly.”
I thought it was particularly telling that Sonny wasn’t able to title his song “Cancer.” It is not surprising, I’m sure, to those that live with cancer in their lives. But it is worth stressing that word “cancer” has so much stigma, that it is so scary to people even today, that he could not title it “cancer.” Let that sit with you for a moment. That is exactly why a rock anthem like this is so powerful, so compelling, and necessary!
Appreciation for those who help with the journey
Sonny told us another fact about his father and his life story, that we think also had a powerful impact on his vision for “Times in Life.”
Sonny’s father worked in healthcare. He was an administrator of a psychiatric facility for children in California when Sonny was growing up. He remembers stories of nurses that worked with kids that were sometimes in and out of the facility. The nurses called these kids “frequent flyers,” not in a negative way, but in a way that conveyed their understanding of how hard it was for these kids to live in a harsh world that did not understand them.
He told Sonny how he also saw how the nurses do so much more than just “treat” patients. They care for the emotional side of what patients and their parents and families have to deal with. Sometimes that means delivering “bad” news, but the nurses know how to do it in a way that is supportive and helps keep the parents strong.
What’s one thing you’d like to tell us about prostate cancer?
Sonny: “Early treatment keeps us healthy and alive.”
I asked Sonny if he knew that there is a higher risk of prostate cancer among men with prostate cancer in their family, and if this influenced him to talk to his doctor about screenings or other things he can do to prevent prostate cancer.
Sonny shared that he gets screened regularly and everything is normal. He also has a cousin (on his father’s side) that had prostate cancer in his left node, had it removed, and is fine. He knows that among his fan base are men that are 50+ years old and he hopes that they will take to heart the prevention and screening message.
Sonny Hunter is a Lead Singer, Lyricist/ Songwriter, Rhythm Guitarist from Houston Texas/USA.
“Times in Life” by Sonny Hunter is a rock anthem, celebrating those who have and are battling Cancer.