John Clement

Music heals in ways that drugs and medicine can’t. Any kind of illness that you’re facing is an opportunity to shed anything in your life that got in your way before. It’s a gateway to make changes to create the time and space for focusing on the things you truly care about and love.

It’s no mystery that our lives can change instantly, sometimes for the better and sometimes not. I’ve experienced both in my years of living. In 2016 I was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer, metastatic to bone and lung. That diagnosis was a bolt of lightning for my family, friends, and myself. After the initial shock of that diagnosis settled in, I realized I had some decisions to make. There was no time to waste with a prognosis of 5 1/2 years of life remaining. The immediate question that came to my mind was, “How am I going to live, and where will I direct my energy and focus ? Will I spend my efforts on staying alive or living ?”. 

I chose to live rather than spend my time researching cures and clinics. After all, I have an excellent team of physicians and clinicians that can focus on how to keep me alive so I can devote my thoughts and energies to living. And one of the most critical avenues I follow in that endeavor is music. Music takes me to a place without sickness, worry, or dread. Music allows me to express thoughts and emotions where spoken words fail.

Music is about the people you can connect to find those hidden places you would never have visited. Additionally, music can connect you with people and take you places that open your eyes to elements of life that you would have otherwise missed. And that’s where Essence comes in.

In the times I’ve spent with Essence, I’ve learned to look for the small hidden things in life that are easy to miss. Essence has coaxed stuff out of me that I was unaware of being within me. When I’m singing and playing, I’m allowed the space and freedom to shed the issues that accompany terminal illness. I believe that all of us benefit from a place in our lives that narrows our focus down to a single endeavor and blocks out the noise of living that so often consumes us. All of us are individuals, and those places will vary. For me, it’s making music and riding my motorcycle. When I engage in those activities, not both at the same time, I assure you, I’m allowed to experience an emotional recess of sorts.

As I previously mentioned, I received a prognosis of 5 ½ years of remaining life in July 2016. As of this date, I’m a year past that point in time. I believe that what influences our attitudes and actions during difficulties we encounter profoundly affects our well-being and quality of life. While medications and therapies are an essential component of navigating severe health issues, our emotional and creative needs must be met as well, tailored to who we are as individuals. Essence has been a bridge to get me to that place.

— John Clement

John has been taking voice and songwriting lessons since Fall 2019. He has been in the studio recording, as his health permits and between his medical treatments, since Fall 2021. He feels and sounds better than ever and is going strong!