When country new-comer Tim Sweeney decided to feature American Sign Language in his Music video for Baby I Try For You, he hoped it would encourage people to appreciate sign language as an actual language. But the video has become so popular on the ZUUS Country television network, that its executives are now looking for ways to better service the deaf community.
“We started playing the video because it was a good video and a good song,” explains ZUUS Country Program Director Kent Bailey. “We weren’t trying to make a statement or anything like that, but the video is making its own statement: music videos can appeal to the deaf and hard of hearing, just like anyone else. We want to give the deaf community a place to come to enjoy music video programming.”
“I wanted this video to honor the deaf community and to promote American Sign Language,” Sweeney says. “What an honor that ZUUS Country is going even further than that, by looking for ways to connect with the deaf and hard of hearing. It just proves to me that including American Sign Language in this video was a good decision… the right decision.”
ZUUS Country began playing Baby I Try For You in their “Breaking Out” rotation in June.
Sweeney wrote Baby I Try For You for his disabled son, Timmy, who has Down’s syndrome and autism. In addition to American Sign Language, the video also features shots of Sweeney with Timmy.
Baby I Try For You is the first single off Sweeney’s inaugural CD, This Time. The song shipped to radio earlier in June and has already earned Sweeney legions of fans. The songs popularity has also helped Sweeney amass a whopping 16,000 new fans on his Facebook page.
“It is a misconception that deaf people can’t enjoy music,” says Justin Osmond, President & CEO of the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund, which provides hearing aids and devices to people who might not otherwise be able to afford them. Osmond, an accomplished violinist, is himself 90% deaf. “Deaf people may not listen to music the same way the hearing world does,” he explains, “but they can feel pleasurable vibrations from music. When a music video also includes sign language, they are able to connect with a songs message, as well as its musical appeal. Let’s not forget that Beethoven continued to write amazing musical scores after he went deaf.”
Sweeney’s love of music traces back to his boyhood in Illinois, where it provided an
escape from poverty. He later graduated from University of Michigan Law School, and spent years climbing the corporate ladder, handling legal matters for several prestigious clients. At the height of success, Sweeney left his law career to devote all his time to caring for Timmy.
“If my music helps improve the lives of people dealing with issues like Timmy’s, I consider that a huge success,” Sweeney says.
“ZUUS Country seeks to provide programming everyone can enjoy, and Tim Sweeney’s
video has opened our eyes to a segment of society that traditionally, music videos have not embraced. I want to change that,” Bailey says.
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