Jacob Ridgeway makes selfless pledge to R U OK? and friend Quaden Bayles

SINGING A NEW TUNE: Jacob Ridgeway will release his second single, I'm Not Coming Home, on Friday. Proceeds will be donated to R U OK? and his friend Quaden Bayles, 9. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

SINGING A NEW TUNE: Jacob Ridgeway will release his second single, I'm Not Coming Home, on Friday. Proceeds will be donated to R U OK? and his friend Quaden Bayles, 9. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

Jacob Ridgeway will release his second single I'm Not Coming Home on Friday and, true to form, he is using his platform for the greater good.

The Port Stephens and Newcastle singer-songwriter is donating proceeds from the song's first month's sales and streams to R U OK? and his friend Quaden Bayles.

The nine year old Indigenous boy with dwarfism shot to the nation's attention earlier in February after a video taken by his mother, Yarraka Bayles, showed an Quaden breaking down due to bullying about his condition.

Showing his support for Quaden, Ridgeway made a moving social media post saying: "I just want you to know how much you're loved, how deadly you are and how much you matter to so many people".

"I've seen the effects of bullying towards my brother growing up because of his disability... This ignorance has to stop and it starts with education as well as calling it out," Ridgeway added.

Jacob Ridgeway and his friend Quaden Bayles, 9. Ridgeway is donating the first month's sales of his new single, I'm Not Coming Home, to R U OK?

Jacob Ridgeway and his friend Quaden Bayles, 9. Ridgeway is donating the first month's sales of his new single, I'm Not Coming Home, to R U OK?

"I'm Not Coming Home came from a time in my life when I wasn't feeling so good or strong about myself.

"I'm a proud R U OK? Ambassador and staunch supporter of the work and programs the team implements to inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with people around them and support anyone struggling with life.

"I have been well aware of Quaden's medical needs and known the family for several years. I've seen the effects of bullying toward him, my brother Brady and many others who have disabilities. I definitely haven't been shy about my journey. Be the change you wish to see in the world."

Ridgeway, a proud Worimi and Gamilaroi man, said he is excited and "a little bit nervous" about the release of his second single.

His first single, Bullyman, won the 2019 National Indigenous Story Awards in December and was also featured on Triple J's Roots N All and Triple J Unearthed.

"The first single was such a reflective piece and it really had a purpose. I wanted to make a statement," he explained.

"The second single is an introduction to me. I got a bit experimental, using blues in an electronic manner in that time signature and even though you can hear a lot of influences, it works.

"I listened to everything growing up. I was raised on country music, raised in Newcastle where we had the alternative rock scene, raised at a time when we had '90s RnB and that hip-hop vibe. I just love music and if I can use it all to tell my story and share my message, that's a bonus for me."

Jacob Ridgeway. Picture: Supplied

Jacob Ridgeway. Picture: Supplied

I'm Not Coming Home was co-written with Ryan Cornish during the 2016 DAG Sheep Station Writers Retreat. The brooding lyrics describe a journey of straying from one's self. Ridgeway is going to continue to release singles "for the moment".

"In time I will see if I can find a nice cohesive set of songs that could work for a concept album - I want any album of mine to be able to tell a story," he said.

"I don't want to release unrelated songs just for the sake of releasing an EP."

Ridegway is a 2016 graduate of the National Aboriginal Centre of Performing Arts in Brisbane (ACPA) and the CMAA Academy of Country Music in Tamworth. He is in his final year at the Newcastle Conservatorium of Music where he is completing a Bachelor of Music.

He is performing at The Surfest Indigenous Classic on Saturday, February 29 at 10am and is involved with an R U OK? fundraising evening on March 14 at Nobbys Surf Life Saving Club in Newcastle.

The rest of the year will be spent studying for his Masters.

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