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Michigan musicians create country song to raise awareness for autism

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CHARLOTTE, Mich. -- They say there's an untold story behind every song.

That's why FOX 17 is looking into the message of one Michigan-made country track and how it's raising awareness for those with autism. The musicians behind the song "Perceptions" say the lyrics are impacting people across the state.

If you like to listen to country music on your radio, there's a chance you've heard "Perceptions" play. Recently, the song landed a spot on Battle Creek's WIN 98.5, eventually making it's way across the nation, even as far as Europe.

A few months ago, the song was number 12 on the iTunes country charts.

American Idol's Taylor Walls, teamed up with Chas Burtchett, Josh Stokes, Mike Vaudeville and award-winning songwriter Lonny Ray to create the song. Walls and Burtchett say they never expected their song to make it this far this fast.

"I couldn't even explain the feeling when I found out," Walls said."It’s surreal. It’s like my dreams are coming true."

"This song is really touching people and we just hope it keeps going," Burtchett said.

The lyrics hit Chas Burtchett close to his heart. His sister Kristi has autism, as does his friend Josh Stokes, one of the writers of the song.

Burtchett remembered the reaction Stokes had when the group first sang the song. "'How you sang the bridge there, the emotion,' he says 'that’s what I’m feeling. That’s how I wrote it,'" Burtchett said.

The song describes what it's like to have autism and how life is at times unkind for those affected.

Walls says she's thankful to be a part of this song, singing the part of a comforting mother. "That's why I love music: just to be able to share those messages and be able to speak with people."

Walls and Burtchett believe that music speaks when words fail to change negative perceptions. "People with autism, I hope they hear this and it empowers them," Burtchett said.

You can find the song "Perceptions" on iTunes and YouTube.

Walls and Burtchett are currently performing across Michigan, but they're looking to play out of state. Meanwhile, they're working closely with the Autism Alliance of Michigan helping those in need.

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