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Marysville foster child cuts album to support food bank
MARYSVILLE — Marysville's Brendon Rotter is still two months shy of his 18th birthday, but even before he became a foster child in middle school, he knew what need felt like.
While music is his passion, and he hopes to turn it into his adult career, he also wants to use it to give back to those whose spirit of giving helped him make it through some hard times as he was growing up.
At the Marysville Library from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, March 24, and Sunday, March 25, Rotter will be performing music from his five-track album, "The Journey," that he's made 200 copies of and is selling for $7 per CD, with all proceeds going toward the Marysville Community Food Bank.
"I went to the food bank as a kid, and they need a lot of money to keep going," Rotter said. "Because of what they did, I was able to carry on with my life."
Rotter has been encouraged by his foster father, Lance Engle, whom he affectionately calls "Dad" because his biological father has been absent for most of his life. Engle had explained to Rotter the importance of inventorying all 200 of his CDs, complete with numbers on the cases, and making sure that he received the minimum of $7 for each CD, although Rotter noted that many people have chosen to spend as much as $10 for a CD, since they know it's going to a good cause.
Mirror Sound Studios of Shoreline gave Rotter a discount of hundreds of dollars to use their recording studio, after he'd spent eight months writing the songs, and even illustrated the CD art himself. Although Rotter's six years of guitar lessons were initially inspired by heavy metal music, he agreed with Engle that his album would appeal to more listeners if he incorporated more acoustic genres, including hints of flamenco.
"If you just stick to one genre, you tend to become a carbon copy of one of its artists," Rotter said. "I wanted to make my own sound."
Rotter credited performing on stage with giving him the confidence to speak in public, which he's done as part of a group of foster children that's traveled to Olympia to speak to state Legislators about how laws affect Washington's roughly 72,000 foster children.
"The guitar lets me express myself and maybe make other people's days happier," Rotter said. "I always have something to learn on it."