When I featured the Joe Toucan Diabetes Project a few weeks ago, created by Hollywood producer and diabetes advocate Rocky Lang, I discovered that Rocky is not the only D-advocate in the LA-based Lang family. His 18-year-old daughter, Nikki, who was diagnosed at age 10, is a talented singer and songwriter whose most recent project is supporting the American Diabetes Association's "Stop Diabetes" campaign. Nikki and her family have been involved with the American Diabetes Association for years (Rocky was ADA "Father of the Year" in 2008).
Nikki recently approached the ADA with a creative fund-raising idea: from now until the end of the year, she will donate 100% of the proceeds of iTunes downloads for her title song, "Feel Better," off her recently released CD, called "Time Has Stopped," to the ADA. I gave a quick listen to "Feel Better" on her website, and thought it was a sweet song with a nice acoustic vibe. Nikki has such a strong voice (and she's beautiful, too). I'm sure she'll go far in her career.
We caught up with Nikki earlier this week:
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DM) First, congratulations on the release of your song Feel Better. How did you break into the music scene at such a young age?
NL) I think it's funny you say 'at such a young age' because I feel like I've been doing this forever. I started playing guitar when I was 5, and writing songs when I was 7, so I feel like I've been trying to be in the music scene since birth. I've always put all my time and energy into my music, and I think it's starting to really pay off now.
You were diagnosed with diabetes at in the fourth grade. How have you coped with it growing up?
I take care of my diabetes because I value my life. It's become a part of me, and I've never been angry about it. I've learned to just accept it as a part of me and my body, and though it gets incredibly tiring at times, I just look at it as a part of life. Life gets tiring too.
How do you manage your diabetes?
I wear a Medtronic Minimed insulin pump. I have been using it since I was 11 years old. I got it about 2 or 3 months after I was diagnosed.
Actually I wrote the song for my ex-boyfriend! It's the ultimate break-up song, that covers all grounds of a terrible breakup... but also the feeling of empowerment when you realize you're better off now. Though the actual song is not about diabetes, it has the same sort of message. Diabetes is extremely rough, and can tear a person apart. But in the end, you have to suck it up and accept it. So the title can apply to anyone.
Where can readers find your music? Do you have a CD available for purchase?
Has diabetes ever created any major obstacles for you?
Never has, and I'm pretty sure it never will. Just like my lungs never got in the way of my career, I don't think my dysfunctional pancreas will either!
You're a great role model and have performed at Children with Diabetes conferences - what advice do you have for kids with diabetes?
Keep your head up, a cure is coming. But in the meantime just live your life normally and stay healthy.
Gotta love Nikki. For budding fans: you can find her performing shows in Los Angeles and Reno, NV in November.