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Turning trauma into song

A dear friend is remembered

Lia Cole is the latest musician to ditch pop poetics in favour of a creating a frank, personal story that reveals and heals.

In early January, the St. Albert singer-songwriter walked into her best friend’s home to find she had taken her own life. Behind Taya Marie Martin’s fun-loving exterior was a young woman suffering from severe depression.

To say Martin’s passing was a shock describes it mildly. After the initial bombshell, Cole reacted to her close friend’s death by writing a song.

“Taya kept a lot of it private. She was always super outgoing and the life of the party. Inside it was different. I just want people to know they don’t have to suffer in silence,” Cole said.

For You is dedicated to Martin and 100 per cent of its proceeds is directed towards suicide prevention in our community through Crises Services Canada.

In her younger years, Cole sang classic country and currently is focusing her flair on romantic and relationship pop music. However, in For You, her raw feelings are couched as a gentle ballad, a eulogy that is sad, soulful and completely disarming.

“I needed to release my emotions. She knows it would have been healing for me and when I sing it, I feel so connected to her,” said Cole.

At the time of the Gazette interview, the song had received 51,000 views, streams and downloads. PlanIt Sound also filmed and released a video on Jan. 30 showcasing Cole, Martin’s girlfriends and her mother.

For all the world to see, Martin, 20, mapped out a bright future. A Paul Kane High School graduate, she just completed a year of upgrading at NAIT. She enrolled at MacEwan University and was planning a career as an ultrasound technician.

Martin and Cole became friends in Grade 10 during gym class.

“She was so funny and beautiful. We had the same sense of humour. We liked the same jokes. We’d laugh for hours and hours. She especially loved a roller-coaster ride. Every time we went to West Edmonton Mall, we had to go on the Mind Bender. We’d always be scared, but we’d do it,” laughs Cole remembering the happy times.

While a single song can sometimes take days to write, For You came pouring out in a matter of hours.

“So many people were supportive and reached out to me. I’ve written it for Taya, but the song is not specific. It could be for anyone who has lost someone.”

Although the song stems from heartbreak, Cole attempts to create a hopeful mood.

“I want to carry her legacy and it’s my duty as a singer to bring light and hope to people through music. It’s what she would have wanted.”

For more information, visit or listen to For You on YouTube.



Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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