on Tue, Oct. 6, 2020 at Metalworks Studios in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Edelman Canada hide caption

toggle caption Edelman Canada

From left, Ron Adea (keyboards), Rawan Tuffaha (vocals) and Jackson D. Begley (guitar) perform during a virtual media appearance on Tue, Oct. 6, 2020 at Metalworks Studios in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

Edelman Canada

For the first few months of the COVID19 pandemic, Spenser Murray was afraid to leave his house.

"I was literally scared to leave the house, like even just ordering groceries was like freaking me out," Murray says. "And I turned 30 during the pandemic and that was the point where I was still kind of really freaked out about going outside."

Murray has Asperger's syndrome, a condition on the autism spectrum. Autism is a developmental disability and, while experiences can vary widely, it's common for people on the spectrum to have "some difficulty making sense of an aspect of the social world," pediatric neurologist David Black previously told NPR.

Eventually, though, Murray had to leave his home because he had music to make.

Murray is the drummer for a new band called ASD, named for Autism Spectrum Disorder because all five in the group are on the spectrum. It's the brainchild of Andrew Simon, ASD's manager. He got the idea after seeing three of them perform with Roger Hodgson — of Supertramp fame — during a concert last year, hosted by Toronto-based autism charity Jake's House.

"It was a really magical night and it was just there that I saw the potential," Simon says. "So, I was talking to the founder [of Jake's House], I said, 'You know what the next step is?' He said, 'No.' I said, 'The next step is we got to put together a band.'"

Simon also came up with the name.

"I thought that it was just very appropriate to be proud, not to hide from it but to actually be proud about it," he says.

When asked to join, Murray, who's been a percussionist since he was in 6th Grade, says he thought the band was a great idea and "a cool and a good way to show that people with autism can be successful."

YouTube

Everyone in the band is from the greater Toronto area — located in Canada's Ontario Province, which has logged over 66,600 COVID-19 cases. So when ASD's first concert was canceled earlier this year because of the pandemic, Simon says it was a really difficult time.

"Depending on where you are on the spectrum, you have a very hard time processing disappointment," he says. "When you promise something, it doesn't make sense that it doesn't happen."

Simon promised they'd find a way to record their music — and they did.

Taking lots of social distancing precautions, ASD Band went to Metalworks Studios on September 10 and finished three songs in one day.

"I honestly wasn't even sure if you were going to get them all done, but I was actually surprised we managed to get them all done in time," Murray says. '

The band has been releasing the songs — all covers of classic pop songs — onto online streaming platforms like Spotify throughout October, Canada's Autism Awareness Month. They've also dropped merchandise, designed by 21-year-old Adam Barkworth from the U.K., who is also on the spectrum.

Meanwhile, they also invited people on the spectrum from around the world to film themselves listening and playing along to their cover of Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe." The resulting video includes submissions from 11 countries, according to Simon.

The band hopes to finally have that concert when the pandemic is over, but in the meantime Murray wants people on the spectrum who want to pursue music to go for it.

"Because with most people on the spectrum, they usually have one thing that they're really focused on," Murray says. "But if you want to focus on music, you'd be really good at it and I think it would be also just really good for your brain just to have something like that to do and focus on."

Pin it

Music News

Music News Radio

Pervis Staples, Founding Member Of The Staple Singers, Dies At Age 85

Enlarge this image Pervis Staples, second from right, performing with his family in 1965. Michael Ochs

Tina Turner, Jay-Z, Foo Fighters Among Those Inducted Into Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

Enlarge this image Tina Turner performing in Berlin in 2009. This is her second induction in the

For Twin Cities Rapper Nur-D, Another Step Forward

Enlarge this image Matt Allen, who records under the name Nur-D. Marrie Weigel /Courtesy of the
Default Image

Musician Hopes Song 'Cootie Shot' Will Help Overcome Vaccine Hesitancy

Children ages 12 to 15 have been approved to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Pierce Freelon, a children's musician, hopes to encourage more kidsto get…
Default Image

You Can Now Enter The 2021 Tiny Desk Contest

YouTube If you're an unsigned musician who has always dreamed of playing a Tiny Desk concert, you're in luck: Starting today, you can enter the 2021…

Curtis Fuller, Leading Trombonist Of Jazz's Detroit Wave, Dies At 86

Enlarge this image From left, trumpet player Freddie Hubbard, saxophonist Johnny Griffin, Curtis Fuller and bassist Reggie

Curtis Fuller, Leading Trombonist Of Jazz's Detroit Wave, Dies At 88

Enlarge this image From left, trumpet player Freddie Hubbard, saxophonist Johnny Griffin, Curtis Fuller and bassist Reggie
Default Image

Taylor Swift Makes Cameo On High School Students' Year-End Exam

NPR thanks our sponsors Become an NPR sponsor

Lloyd Price, Singer And Early Rock Influence, Dies At 88

Enlarge this image Lloyd Price appears backstage at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony,
Default Image

Nancy Wilson's Solo Album Isn't Copying Heart's Signature Sound

Sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson were the core of the group Heart. NPR's Rachel Martin talks to guitarist Nancy Wilson about her career in music, and her…

Ed Ward, Rock Critic And Historian, Dead At 72

Enlarge this image Ed Ward, photographed in the Rolling Stone office in December, 1970 in San Francisco.

Announcing The 2021 Tiny Desk Contest

YouTube Every year, we ask unsigned artists to send us their songs. These artists invite us into their communities and spaces — their buildings and…

Money Mark, Beastie Boys Keyboardist, Has A Timeless Reminder

Enlarge this image Money Mark, a still from the documentary The Sound of Toys. Courtesy of

Dawn Richard Joined NPR Music's Listening Party For 'Second Line'

YouTube The Listening Party is over, but you can watch the album stream and conversation for the next 72 hours. Join us in an online listening party…

Dawn Richard Will Join NPR Music's Listening Party For 'Second Line'

YouTube Join us in an online listening party for Dawn Richard's Second Line. With WNXP's Jewly Hight in the host chair, we'll feature a live…
Default Image

Driessen's Latest Project Results From His Experiences Around The World

NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro speaks with musician Casey Driessen about his latest project Otherlands: A Global Music Exploration. Besides recordings,…

Shock G, Leader Of Hip-Hop's Digital Underground, Dies At 57

Enlarge this image Digital Underground, led by Shock G, shown here in 1990, was one of the

Black Rob, Former Bad Boy Records Rapper, Dies At 52

Enlarge this image Black Rob performs onstage during the Puff Daddy and The Family Bad Boy Reunion

Les McKeown, Singer For Bay City Rollers, Dies At 65

Enlarge this image Les McKeown, performing on Aug. 24, 2007 in Sydney. Gaye Gerard/Getty Images hide

International Jazz Day's Global Celebrations Are On, And Again Online

Enlarge this image Herbie Hancock, speaking to high school students in the State Dining Room of the
Default Image

Musician Distracts Himself During 1st Time Paragliding

The man in Turkey, to combat nervousness, brought along his violin — playing away as he soared through the sky. It's safe to say he conquered his…

Hundreds Of Fyre Festival Ticket Holders Poised To Win Payout In Class-Action Suit

Enlarge this image Billy McFarland, pictured leaving federal court in March 2018, was sentenced to six years

Oath Keepers Member Is 1st To Plead Guilty In Capitol Riot Investigation

Enlarge this image Rioters clash with law enforcement as they attempt to enter the U.S. Capitol building

Sonny Simmons, Fiercely Independent Alto Saxophonist, Dies at 87

Enlarge this image Frans Schellekens/Getty Images

The Rhymes And Reasons Behind Re-Recording Your Own Classics

Enlarge this image Taylor Swift, onstage during the Fearless Tour at Madison Square Garden on Aug. 27,

Sharon Van Etten Joined NPR Music's Listening Party For 'Epic Ten'

YouTube The Listening Party is over, but you can watch the album stream and conversation in the video above for the next 72 hours. Join NPR Music,

Sharon Van Etten Will Join NPR Music's Listening Party For 'Epic Ten'

YouTube Join NPR Music, Sharon Van Etten and Shamir in an online listening party for Van Etten's newest, epic Ten. The album includes her original…

Lovely Songs From The Big Hold, Inspired By Bureaucracy

Enlarge this image A musician, disoriented by his loss of work and the inefficiency of bureaucracy, made
Default Image

Film Composer Hans Zimmer Turns To Creating Ringtones

Zimmer, known for scoring films like Inception and Dunkirk, worked with Chinese phone maker Oppo to offer two unique ringtones along with music for…
Default Image

Rapper DMX Is On Life Support At New York Hospital After A Heart Attack

News of DMX's condition prompted an outpouring of prayer and support on social media from fans and celebrities, including rappers Missy Elliott, Rick…
Default Image

Rapper DMX Is On Life Support At New York Hospital After Heart Attack

News of DMX's condition prompted an outpouring of prayer and support on social media from fans and celebrities, including rappers Missy Elliott, Rick…

Rapper DMX On Life Support Following Heart Attack

Enlarge this image DMX, pictured performing at the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards in Atlanta, is reportedly

Bonnaroo Announces Lineup For 2021 Festival In September

Enlarge this image Billy Joel performing at Bonnaroo 2015. Jason Merritt/TERM/Getty Images hide captiontoggle caption Jason
Default Image

Akron Plans 'Devo Day' For April 1. Is It An April Fools' Joke?

NPR thanks our sponsors Become an NPR sponsor

Michael Milosh Of Rhye Accused Of Sexual Assault And Domestic Violence By Ex-Wife

Enlarge this image Rhye's Michael Milosh has denied allegations of sexual assault made by ex-wife Alexa Nikolas. Mike Windle/Getty Images for
Default Image

Historic 'St. Louis Tinfoil' Added To National Recording Registry

NPR thanks our sponsors Become an NPR sponsor

Composer Malek Jandali Considers Syria's Civil War, A Decade On

Enlarge this image Syrian-American pianist and composer Malek Jandali, photographed on May 16, 2015 in Dubai. Karim Sahib/AFP via Getty Images

NYC Mayor Promises To Help Broadway Re-Open By September

Enlarge this image A sign of the "Hamilton" marquee at New York City's Richard Rogers Theater on Mar. 12, 2021, commemorating Broadway's

NYC Mayor Promises To Help Broadway Reopen By September

Enlarge this image A sign of the "Hamilton" marquee at New York City's Richard Rogers Theater on Mar. 12, 2021, commemorating Broadway's

Bach's Favorite Instrument You've Probably Never Heard Of: The Long-Lost Lautenwerck

Enlarge this image Johann Sebastian Bach playing the organ, not the lautenwerck, circa 1725. From a print in the British Museum.
Default Image

'Last Soul Company' Details The Story Of Malaco Records

A new book chronicles the history of Malaco Records, the oldest continuously run independent record label in America, and one of the biggest gospel…
Default Image

Join NPR Music's Listening Party For Floating Points & Pharoah Sanders' 'Promises'

YouTube Join us in an online listening party for Floating Points and Pharoah Sanders' new collaboration with the London Symphony Orchestra, Promises.…

A Grandson's Gift — A Spotlight — For His Grandfather's WWII Band

Enlarge this image Jason Burt, of Clarksburg, Calif., got help from Grammy award-winning sound engineers to digitize and prepare recordings of his

Paul Jackson, Headhunters Bassist Who Played With Herbie Hancock, Dies At 73

Enlarge this image Paul Jackson performs with the Headhunters at the North Sea Jazz Festival in The Hague, The Netherlands, in 1998.
Default Image

Music Streaming Giants To Pay $424 Million In Royalty Fees

Streaming has revolutionized the music business, including how songwriters get paid. Now the 20 biggest streaming platforms have been ordered to pay…

'The Island We Made': Lip-Sync Opera And High Drag Sing An Ode To Mothers

Enlarge this image Sasha Velour stars in The Island We Made, an opera composed by Angélica Negrón and filmed in a mid-century

James Levine, Former Met Opera Music Director, Is Dead At Age 77

Enlarge this image James Levine conducts the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2007. Miguel Medina/AFP via Getty Images hide captiontoggle caption Miguel
Default Image

For Rapper Drake, It Really Is As Easy As 1, 2, 3

Drake recently released Scary Hours 2, a mini-album with three songs on it, and those songs all debuted in the top-three spots of the Billboard Hot…
Default Image

Most Grammys Per Single Lady — Beyoncé's 28th Win Sets A New Record

With a total of 28 wins, Beyoncé broke the record for the most Grammys of any woman or any singer at this year's awards.

Escapism, Not Escape, At A Grammy Night Defined By Exceptions

Enlarge this image Megan Thee Stallion, who took home the awards for best new artist and two rap categories, performs with Cardi

Grammys 2021: 10 Takeaways From A Big, Weird Night

Enlarge this image If we could literally take one thing away from the Grammys, Harry Styles' feather boa might be it.
Default Image

2021 Grammy Awards: Beyoncé Makes History, Billie Eilish Wins 2 Big Awards

The 63rd annual Grammy Awards were given out Sunday night. And while the stars were on display, it was a very different kind of ceremony for music's…
Default Image

Yo-Yo Ma Celebrates 2nd Vaccine Dose With Solo At Clinic

After receiving his second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, cellist Yo-Yo Ma performed an impromptu solo for the clinic inside the gymnasium at Berkshire…

Beyoncé Reigns And Billie Eilish Repeats At 2021 Grammy Awards

Beyoncé (left) and Megan Thee Stallion, who each won three awards at the 2021 Grammy Awards, accept trophy for best rap performance
Default Image

2021 Grammy Awards: The Full List Of Winners

The complete list of winners of the 63rd annual Grammy Awards, presented on March 14, 2021, is below. The 2021 Grammy Awards will be handed out…

2021 Grammy Awards: The Full List Of Nominees And Winners

Enlarge this image Don Emmert/AFP via

With A Long-Awaited Shot At Freedom, Mac Phipps Has His Eyes On The Future

Enlarge this image Mac Phipps, the rapper formerly signed to No Limit Records, has been granted clemency after 21 years in prison.

Shuttered Venue Grants Are Coming In April, After A Long Wait

Enlarge this image Music venues, like the Metro in Chicago, have gone through a long and uncertain wait for aid passed by

Lou Ottens, Inventor Of The Cassette Tape, Has Died

Enlarge this image A Philips cassette tape is shown in 1965. Lou Ottens, who lead the invention of the first cassette tape,
Default Image

Performance Venues Wait For Aid From Earlier COVID-19 Relief Measure

A bailout for live music and other event venues passed in the last relief bill. But one month after applications were scheduled to launch, they have…

With Her Recording Series 'Rising Sun,' Lara Downes Re-Centers Black Composers

Enlarge this image Lara Downes. Her recent album, Phenomenal Women, featured recordings of compositions by Black female composers whose legacies have…

On 'Plugs I Met 2,' Benny The Butcher Is Saying The Quiet Part Out Loud, Up Front

Enlarge this image Jeremie Pennick, better known as Benny The Butcher, in a portrait from 2021. His new album, Plugs I Met

Remembering Bunny Wailer, Reggae Mystic And Wailers Co-Founder, Dead At 73

Enlarge this image Bunny Wailer was the last living founder of iconic Jamaican reggae band The Wailers. Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide

Remembering Bunny Wailer, Reggae Mystic And Wailers Co-Founder

Enlarge this image Bunny Wailer was the last living founder of iconic Jamaican reggae band The Wailers. Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide
Default Image

Ex-Collaborators For Squirrel Nut Zippers Reunite For New Music

NPR thanks our sponsors Become an NPR sponsor
Default Image

Dolly Parton Sings The Benefits Of Getting COVID-19 Vaccination

Dolly Parton wants people to get vaccinated. To that end, she re-imagined one of her greatest hits. Parton sang an adaptation of "Jolene" in a social…
Default Image

Song From 'Les Misérables' Has A Long History In Pro-Democracy Movements

In Myanmar, protesters have adopted the song — "Do You Hear The People Sing?" — from the musical Les Misérables, as a rallying cry against the…

Bunny Wailer, Iconic Reggae Singer And Wailers Co-Founder, Has Died At Age 73

Enlarge this image Bunny Wailer photographed in London in 1988. David Corio/Redferns/Getty Images hide captiontoggle caption David…

Ralph Peterson Jr., Drummer Who Re-Enlivened Hard Bop, Dead At 58

Enlarge this image Ralph Peterson Jr., performing in 2012 at Symphony Space in New York. Dave Kaufman hide captiontoggle caption Dave

Vijay Iyer And A New Trio Reflect On The 'Uneasy' Past And Present

Enlarge this image From left: Tyshawn Sorey, Vijay Iyer and Linda May Han Oh. The trio, Iyer's newest, collaborated on the album

Rapper Mac Phipps, After 20 Years In Prison, Is One Step Closer To Freedom

Enlarge this image McKinley "Mac" Phipps at Lousiana's Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in 2011. Courtesy of the Phipps family hide captiontoggle

What Does Daft Punk Leave Behind?

YouTube On Monday, the ur-French-dance-music duo Daft Punk announced – via the slick and typically cryptic video above, featuring a dramatic…
Default Image

Electronic Music Duo Daft Punk Announces Split After Nearly 3 Decades

NPR thanks our sponsors Become an NPR sponsor

Bobby Shmurda Is Coming Home. What Happens Next?

Enlarge this image Bobby Shmurda at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on Oct. 30, 2014. Taylor Hill/Getty Images hide captiontoggle caption Taylor Hill/Getty

Julien Baker Joined NPR Music's Listening Party For 'Little Oblivions'

YouTube Updated Feb. 26 at 3:26 p.m. ET: The Listening Party has ended, but you can watch the album stream and conversation for the next 24…

Julien Baker Will Join NPR Music's Listening Party For 'Little Oblivions'

YouTube Join us in an online listening party for Julien Baker's new album, Little Oblivions, hosted by WNXP's Jewly Hight and featuring a live…
Default Image

Country Music Continues To Confront Racism

NPR's Michel Martin speaks with Rissi Palmer, host of the Apple Music show "Color Me Country," about the Morgan Wallen controversy and what the…

Violence Erupts In Barcelona On 5th Night Of Protests Over Jailed Rapper

Enlarge this image Protesters clash with Mossos d'Esquadra, the Catalan police force, following a demonstration Saturday in Barcelona against the…

Metropolitan Opera Backstage Workers: 'Without People, The Opera Is Nothing'

Enlarge this image Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center in New York City remains closed following restrictions imposed to slow the spread
Default Image

Prince Markie Dee Of The Fat Boys Has Died

Prince Markie Dee, a founding member of The Fat Boys, has died. The trio was among hip-hop's best-known groups in the 1980s.
Default Image

Remembering U-Roy, Jamaican Dancehall Icon

The iconic dancehall musician U-Roy has died at age 78. The DJ and vocalist known as "The Originator" had a massive impact on Jamaican music, and was…

U-Roy, Jamaican Vocalist Who Defined Dancehall And Presaged Hip-Hop, Dies At 78

Enlarge this image U-Roy, performing at Reggae Sunsplash in Montego Bay, Jamaica on Aug. 8, 1984. David Corio/Redferns hide captiontoggle caption
Default Image

Fans Will Almost Certainly Recognize Taylor Swift's New Single

NPR thanks our sponsors Become an NPR sponsor

Milford Graves, Visionary Drummer Who Mapped The Music Of The Heart, Dead At 79

Enlarge this image Milford Graves, circa 2000, in front of his house in South Jamaica, Queens, N.Y. New York Daily News
Default Image

There's A New Voice On The Folk Music Scene — A Very Young One

NPR thanks our sponsors Become an NPR sponsor

Fania Records Co-Founder Johnny Pacheco Dies At 85

Enlarge this image Johnny Pacheco, seen here in 2007, died at the age of 85 on Monday. Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images hide
Default Image

Rebecca Black Releases 10th Anniversary Remix Of 'Friday'

Ten years ago this week, Rebecca Black's song "Friday" was released. If you were anywhere near the Internet then, you may have distinct feelings…
Default Image

Jazz Fusion Pioneer, Chick Corea, Dies Of Cancer At 79

Chick Corea was a towering figure in jazz for over 50 years — at home in straight ahead jazz, electric jazz fusion, Latin music and more. He won 23…

'Just The Two Of Us' Songwriter Found His Sound In Solitude

Enlarge this image Young Jada Salter and her grandfather, William Salter, in 2002. Jamal Salter hide captiontoggle caption Jamal Salter
Default Image

Ringing In The Year Of The Ox Will Be A Largely Virtual Event

NPR thanks our sponsors Become an NPR sponsor

Judge Rules Against Britney Spears' Father In Conservatorship Dispute

Enlarge this image Singer Britney Spears at an appearance in Hollywood in July 2019. Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images hide captiontoggle

Chick Corea, Jazz Fusion Pioneer, Has Died Of Cancer At 79

Enlarge this image Chick Corea, seen here performing in Turin, Italy in 2018, died Feb. 9. Giorgio Perottino/Getty Images for OGR

Taylor Swift Announces Remake Of 'Fearless,' Due In April

Enlarge this image Taylor Swift has kept busy during quarantine with two new albums under her belt; today, the artist announces a

Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige, Tina Turner Among 16 Nominees For Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

Enlarge this image Jay-Z (pictured in 2005) was nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on Wednesday, in his first
Default Image

Original Member Of The Supremes, Mary Wilson, Dies At Age 76

Mary Wilson began her career in Detroit in 1959 as a singer in what was then called the Primettes. The group went on to become The Supremes, with…

Mary Wilson, Founding Member Of The Supremes, Dies At 76

Enlarge this image Singer Mary Wilson, a co-founder of The Supremes, died Monday night at her home in Henderson, Nev. She was
Default Image

For Her 'SNL' Debut, Phoebe Bridgers Goes Bigger Than Ever

YouTube Most of us spent 2020 in a holding pattern — if we're lucky — but Phoebe Bridgers had a massive year. Her second album, Punisher, was one of

Jim Weatherly, Who Wrote 'Midnight Train To Georgia,' Dies At 77

Enlarge this image Singer-songwriter Jim Weatherly died on Feb. 3 at age 77. He's pictured above in Nashville, Tenn., in January 2015.

Northern California
Public Media Newsletter

Get the latest updates on programs and events.