Overcoming adversity, singer songwriter shares stories of grit and passion

Surya Ravichandran

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Overcoming challenges and adversity for much of his life, Tony Memmel performed Wednesday night at the Frisco ISD Administration Building seeking to inspire others and to encourage them to never give up.

“I was born without a left hand, my whole life I’ve learned to do things a little differently,” Memmel said. “It required spending extensive hours, months, even years. It was very challenging.”

My whole life I’ve learned to do things a little differently,”

— singer-songwriter Tony Memmel

Surrounded by people continuously supported him, Memmel was raised in a loving environment.

“My parents encouraged me but they also pushed me to think about how much I really wanted this,” Memmel said. “I really had to work for it, I had to research it, I had to think about it, I had to dream about it before it ever came into my life.”

Operating under the mission to “know every student by name and need”, Wednesday’s performance by Memmel provided something different for district.

“We felt that this was something that Frisco hadn’t seen before,” Frisco ISD PTA officer Parvathi Sivaraman said. “We want everybody to feel like they’re part of the campus. This includes kids with special needs and special education. We were really excited that there was someone to pose as an example for other children.”

Visiting 10 countries and more than 45 states, Memmel has integrated certain ethical values into his daily life.

“Hard work, perseverance, grit,” he said. “I think those are all values that come from sticking with something even on the hard days. Looking for that ultimate goal, and knowing you can do something when you push through the toughest times.”

Memmel’s work teaches certain values not only to himself but to all that he’s performed for.

“I wanted to see him play,” parent Angie Wilson said. “He persevered and didn’t give up and he’s doing things that people wouldn’t be able to do.”

Hoping to motivate others to pursue their dreams, Memmel used his songs to convey a personal meaning.

He persevered and didn’t give up and he’s doing things that people wouldn’t be able to do,”

— parent Angie Wilson

“Each song has a reason behind it,” Sivaraman said. “There’s a message behind it,”

With the intention of helping those around him, there’s a hope that others will learn from his journey.

“Well, it is scary to take that jump,” Memmel said. “That’s kind of a given. What you really want to do might not have all the answers, you probably won’t. You have to keep being active about researching your passion. Everybody has a dream, but the people that really go far are the ones who pursue it with energy and wanting to be educated about what they’re doing, and just having that spirit of never giving up, and I think that if you can hone that, there isn’t anything that you can’t do.”