The Story of Bernie and The Believers Will Inspire You [Videos]

bernie and the believers

photo: YouTube

Bernie Dalton was diagnosed with ALS in 2016 and with help from Essence Goldman, he realized his musical dream. More on Bernie and The Believers here!

Bernie Dalton and singer-songwriter Essence Goldman first crossed paths in 2016 when he requested to take voice lessons. The Californian was dedicated to his lessons and building his confidence as a singer. Sadly, after just a few months of vocal sessions, Bernie’s voice mysteriously disappeared.

After more health issues became apparent, Bernie was diagnosed with bulbar-onset ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, the most aggressive form of the disease at 47-years-old. Obviously this news was shocking and devastating to Bernie and his teenage daughter, Nicole.

After receiving this life-altering news in 2017, Bernie wanted to record of the songs he had been writing and have his daughter participate in the process with him. Unable to speak or sing, and with his weakening arms making playing guitar next to impossible, Bernie asked Essence to be his voice and help him put melody and chords to his lyrics in order to bring them to life.

With help from a successful Go Fund Me campaign, the album project was officially kicked off in June 2017. During this time, Bernie quickly went from being able to drive himself to the recording sessions in his pickup truck to losing his ability move any part of his body except for his eyes. Through the use of a computer screen called an “Eye Gaze Device,” Bernie was still able to communicate by typing short phrases with his eyes. After spelling out a word or a phrase, he could then select an option for the computer to speak what he was typing out.

Making this album allowed Bernie to focus on music and creativity instead of on the devastating disease impacting every aspect of his life. This album, along with his daughter Nicole, are his life’s legacy. Bernie’s album, Connection, was released with the band name Bernie and The Believers in February 2018.

“Becoming Bernie’s voice and putting his powerful words to music and melody is the honor of a lifetime. And I’ve realized that if anything had been different with my career in music so far, if I had a hit record sooner, I would not have become a voice teacher, I wouldn’t have placed that ad on Craigslist offering voice lessons, and none of this would have happened. If I hadn’t hadn’t typed in the words ‘voice lessons with essence,’ I would have never met Bernie Dalton,” Essence reflects.

“This journey has finally made me understand the power of music. This collaboration is what life and music are really about. It’s about connection. It’s about having something important to communicate. The power of a song works in unexpected ways, like a wave. That’s what Bernie Dalton has taught me. I may have been his voice teacher, but he has become a life teacher for me. He is a messenger of courage and love. The messenger I didn’t know I was seeking. And he taught me to sing from my heart,” the artist wholeheartedly adds.

Presently, Bernie is living in the hospital and getting the proper home care for him is difficult because his family cannot cover its staggering costs. He wants to be home surrounded by his family and friends, enjoying the time he has left. Another Go Fund Me campaign has been launched to raise funds for his end of life care and can be found here.

Watch Bernie and The Believers perform the song “Unusual Boy” with Essence Goldman below!

“Unusual Boy” Lyrics

Songwriters: Bernie Dalton, essence, and Roger Rocha 

Always a boy loves me
When I start to open
Always a boy leaves me
When it’s not enough

Never the right boy
Can understand me
Never the right boy
To own my heart

Only an unusual boy
Could love and understand me
If only an unusual boy
Could love me tonight

I need an unusual boy
To continue to believe in me
I need this unusual boy
To convince me to believe too

Such an unusual boy
Not look I need attention
Such an unusual boy
We’re cut from the same cloth
Only an unusual boy
Could love and understand me
If only an unusual boy
Could hold me tonight

Longing to tell him
I have feelings for him
Longing to say
I can’t hold back anymore
Afraid that I’ll that I’ll lose him
But equally afraid
Afraid that he’ll say
I just don’t see you that way

Only an unusual boy
Could love and understand me
And only an unusual boy
Could love and understand me
And I know an unusual boy
And I think that he can handle me
And I know an unusual boy
I wish I could see him tonight

Cause I am the unusual girl
I’m moving to the real me
And I am the unusual girl
Who feels, I feel so much more

If only an unusual boy
Would choose to embrace me
I know that my unusual boy
He could be Mr. Right

Bernie and The Believers Feat. Essence: NPR Tiny Desk Concert Performance, November 2018

Share Bernie’s incredible story with others and let’s work together to get his needs met!

“Every situation, all probable outcomes, hold love at the center of it all. Love at the center of it all. Love at the center of it all.”

– Bernie Dalton, “Simon’s Hero” Song Lyric

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