Singer-songwriter Matthew John says his mother, Denyce Fernando, has always meant everything to him. So as he prepared to marry his husband, Blake Coelho-Fernando, in February, he decided to give Mom a very special gift: a personalized song, fittingly titled “Everything.”
“I always knew I wanted to write a song for my mom ― I just never have before,” John, who resides in Tucson, Arizona, and has opened for artists like Mike Posner and Andy Grammer, told HuffPost. “I was searching for songs that really spoke to me especially for our mother-son dance. I couldn’t find one at all that I resonated with. So it hit me. I sat down with my guitar and started noodling and a new song just started flowing out of me.”
The result was “Everything,” which John says he wrote in roughly 30 minutes. “You taught me everything, how to tell what’s wrong from right,” he sings on the track, which can be heard below. “You gave me everything, made me who I am inside / And even though I’m different, I’m still the man you thought I’d be. Just a little bit stronger since you prepared me / To take on anything, you taught me everything.”
“It was really important for me to give my mom the gift of song since she was the one who gave me the gift of life, and for always believing in me,” the 29-year-old, who identifies as bisexual, told HuffPost. “I also wanted to give men like me who are in a same-sex relationship a song they could relate to as well, especially on their wedding day. I wanted to share this with other moms and sons for their special moment on the big day.”
From the sounds of it, other soon-to-be wedded couples have connected with “Everything,” too. The song has garnered accolades on a number of wedding-related blogs, including Equally Wed and My Wedding Songs.
“I’ve been receiving messages online from moms and other men looking for lyrics, and sharing their memories and stories,” John said.
Fernando says she struggled to come to terms with John’s sexuality at first. But she said “Everything” was an emotional reminder that her son “was stronger than any man I have ever known.”
“When Matthew came out to us, it was like my whole world shattered,” she told HuffPost. “I won’t lie ― I cried for weeks.” After consulting with a friend who also has a child who identifies as LGBTQ, she said, “I think that was the day I stopped mourning the son I thought I had lost.”
“There really aren’t enough words to describe what the song means to me,” she said. “I think those words are being guarded by my heart.”
All photos appear courtesy of Brianna Gomez.