I'M NOT AFRAID - A journey of loss and defiance, Symmetry's latest track I'M NOT AFRAID is the epitome of a powerful and emotive pop/rock track.
But Jared Hara found a new vision - through music and with the support of his parents he saw a new path and one that they encouraged in every step. At the age of 20, Jared’s musical strengths proved opportune, and with his band Symmetry, major UK supports were secured from Don Broco, Third Eye Blind and McBusted.
Then just weeks before departure, Jared's Father Mark Hara suddenly suffered a fatal heart attack. Despite the devastating shock, the tour went ahead and was a great success, but not before Jared wrote the words to this song dedicated to the memory of his Dad.
The dreaded shrill of the 3 second alarm sets up an infectiously hooky verse which leads into a wham-bam-slam of a chorus leaving no doubt of the intended message.
The first UK single from Californian 4-piece Symmetry, is led by vocalist Mike Campbell whose powerful range embraces both the delicate and the passionate, and interwoven by the subtle guitar work of founder Jared Hara, coupled with the intoxicating rhythm from Will Weiner on bass and Max D’Anda’s commanding drums, we are left with a 3-minute Pop Classic.
Unpretentious, simple, yet contagious this is a song that will stay with you from the minute you wake up.
WORLD SIGHT DAY: Symmetry Guitarist Jared Hara Speaks About The Challenges And Triumphs of Being A Blind Guitarist
At the age of 11, ice-hockey loving Jared Hara lost his sight. He left the hockey rink and learned to play guitar by touch alone. Now guitarist in the LA band Symmetry, he says music saved his life. On World Sight Day, we spoke to Jared about performing live, going barefoot, and how venues need to modernise to accommodate disability.
How do you adapt your live performances as a blind artist?
“I lost my sight when I was 11, so the only bands I think I’d seen at that point were N*SYNC and the Backstreet Boys. I’ve never seen anybody shredding a guitar in a rock band. I don’t really know what it means when someone says ‘get into the music’ or ‘look a certain way’. I probably looked afraid to begin with. I think the word that people used was that I looked ‘stoic’. I was in my own world. But it always made sense to me to groove with the music and evolve. I’m not self-conscious anymore. My big thing is to not wear shoes so I can feel the stage if there’s an accident or I fall off.”
What about when you’re watching other bands?
“I’m a pretty aware person and I don’t really stay in my shell. I always try and get out and push myself towards something that I’m uncomfortable with. If it ends up not working, then at least I tried. I’ve been in crazy moshpits before.”
Metal fans are notoriously the nicest guys in the business.
“I’ve been a metal musician for pretty much my entire career, and it’s true. Even if they’re in a moshpit getting their aggressions out, I think they’re there together, like a family. I truly believe that. The world’s pretty screwed up. When people get together in any art form, I really feel it’s a gathering of like-mindedness. In today’s world you need some form of escape.”
How could music venues adapt to better accommodate people with disabilities?
“Anything that’s wider is good. Don’t make it narrow! Just things like that. I think it’s simple. But then again, you could say that making every venue the same would be easier, and it can’t be that way.”
I know you went through a depressive period following your diagnosis. Did music contribute to your recovery?
“Music absolutely did save my life after I lost my sight. It gave me this creative outlet that I never even knew I had inside of me. And when I went through something as catastrophic as going blind, I had things to say. It’s purging in a way, it’s cleansing, it takes these toxins out of you when you write about depression or anything that feels powerful. That voice is mine, nobody else’s.”
Life as a blind guitarist: Nothing in this world is impossible
Jared Hara is the blind guitarist who's encouraging others with visual impairments to get into music.
The 26-year-old American went blind when he was 11 but now tours the world in his band Symmetry.
"When I lost my sight, I wondered what was going to get me out of my bedroom because that was the hardest motivation," he tells Newsbeat.
In the end he learnt to play the electric guitar - despite never physically seeing it.
"As soon as I heard the distortion and chaos that came out of the amplifier, I thought it was so cool. It excited me and gave me a sense of noise."
He's speaking about his experience on World Sight Day, which aims to create awareness about blindness and visual impairment.
When Jared could see, a career in rock music was never on the cards. He wanted to be an ice hockey player.
"Hockey took up most of my time until I lost my eyesight. But the noise from the electric guitar was as exciting as being on the ice, playing hockey."
He says he tried a couple of lessons with an acoustic guitar but it didn't have the thrill that he later got with the electric version.
He was always a fan of rap music until his dad played him acts like Pearl Jam and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
"I became obsessed," he says.
Jared's never had an image of what guitarists do on stage and he says he enjoys "inventing my own thing" when he's on stage.
He's only ever "seen" one concert - the Backstreet Boys.
"They never had guitars so I didn't see any rock moves," he laughs.
"Playing in front of any crowd is such a thrill for me. The scream of the crowd gets the heart racing."
His band Symmetry, who are based in California, have a loyal fan base and have supported McBusted and James Arthur in the UK, as well as their own headline tour.
His message for other would-be musicians is that "nothing in this world is impossible".
"You have to fight through the physical and emotional pain. Sometimes being discouraged is more painful than any physical pain you may feel.
"I'm a firm believer in pushing yourself to the limit and that applies to anything in this world."