Songwriter with Autism Making A Big Splash in the Music Industry
Diagnosed with high-functioning autism, Joe Bigalke had many obstacles to overcome during his journey!
From an extremely young age, Joe Bigalke was always drawn to music. At the age of two, Joe began playing the piano. Ever since his love of songwriting and musical composition has developed into a successful music career.
Bigalke went from not only playing the piano but also writing and producing full songs as an unsigned artist until he eventually signed with Rock the Cause Records in 2023. Rock the Cause Records is a community-focused non-profit organization.
However, Joe had more obstacles than other artists to overcome through his journey in the music industry.
From a young age, Bigalke had been told that he had a learning disability, but it wasn’t until 2018 that he was diagnosed with high-functioning autism. The diagnosis was finally an explanation for why he’d struggled to understand his feelings of isolation throughout his childhood.
That same year, Bigalke joined the Universal Music Center (UMC) in his hometown of Red Wing, Minnesota. He began working with a mentor and fellow musician and producer, Mark Woerpel.
After Bigalke’s uncle committed suicide, he took to the piano in an effort to seek comfort, and it was during this period of grief that he wrote his first song with the UMC, titled ‘Ascended to the Father.’
“I was sitting in a practice room, and I started writing the song called Ascended to the Father. I was trying to think about how suicide correlates with the tides,” Bigalke said in an interview with Republican Eagle. “So I built this song based on suicide coming in on a high tide and then going out so quickly that you’re [left] trying to grasp your head around it.”
During the recovery process after a severe fall, Bigalke took inspiration from a beautiful sunset and started work on another song, ‘A Friend Above All’ with assistance from Woerpel and another UMC musician, Anna Filkins.
The song quickly started to receive recognition from songwriters across the United States.
Bigalke, as a member of the Nashville Songwriters Association, received a nomination for his song for the prestigious Songwriter’s Award. Out of 16,000 entries, his song was runner-up in the final selection round.
“I decided that with all those publications I was getting, I felt like there was a higher calling,” Biaglke said. “I had been trying to get in with Rock the Cause for the last 7 years, and I finally talked to [Founder and CEO] Scott Herold, and he said, ‘Joe, after hearing your story from Nashville and seeing all the work that has gone into this song, I’ve had a revelation that I need to tell your story.’”
After seven years of waiting for his opportunity, Bigalke finally signed with Rock the Cause Records.
Local Songwriter Making A Big Splash in the Music Industry – Conclusion
Joe’s debut single, ‘A Friend Above All,’ featuring Anna Filkins, is available now, with a portion of all proceeds going directly towards autism awareness and suicide prevention, along with music programs for children.
To listen to Joe’s songs and learn more about his journey, head to his website at joebigalkemusic.com.
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