Music Conservatory of Westchester music therapist Donald Stevens proves the power of positivity in his latest music video for his original song “You Can Change the World.” The upbeat anthem was inspired by a chance meeting on a NYC subway platform with Date While You Wait creator Thomas Knox. As it turns out, Knox’s initiative is not about romantic dating at all.
“I am not looking for love through this particular venue; I just wanted a simple way for people to have a positive social interaction outside of traditional media. People need to communicate more face to face.” Knox says. “The pandemic gave us more fuel to do this – create something inspiring, encouraging, and hopeful.”
For over five years, Knox would go into the subway with the Date While You Wait sign, a table and chairs, and a Connect 4 game to have conversations with thousands of fellow New Yorkers. His endeavor attracted attention from the media, and even the inventor of Connect 4 came to play a round of the game with Knox. His social media following grew and in October 2020, one of these fans, Donald Stevens, was lucky enough to participate in the phenomenon.
The serendipitous encounter occurred at the Manhattan 34th Street-Herald Square subway platform. Donald Stevens’s guitar playing caught the interest of Knox and their conversation about music and Stevens’s career as a music therapist and multi-instrumentalist musician sparked. In episode one, Stevens speaks about the positive energy from their interaction; a 30-second hook of his original song “You Can Change the World” was introduced – written on the spot – in that episode.
The song and music video, co-produced by Date While You Wait Executive Producer David Harris Katz, shares a universal message to remind listeners that “You Can Change the World.”
“I really think that when people hear the song or see the music video, it will motivate people to take that step and share their gifts and talents. With technology, you can spread that to people around the world,” Stevens says. “In this pandemic, it’s limited us from in-person conversation, but everyone has gifts – share them!”
Stevens, a White Plains native and Board-certified music therapist, has been a faculty member with the Music Therapy Institute at the renowned Music Conservatory of Westchester since 2011. He works with children and adults with disabilities, as well as U.S. military veterans in the nonprofit community music school’s Healing Our Heroes program. During his time at the Music Conservatory, Stevens has written music with his students and was able to perform original pieces on huge platforms such as Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, Capitol Theatre, and many more. Outside of his work as a music therapist, Stevens works as the Director of Music at Bethel Baptist Church, where he oversees various singing groups. In 2015,
Stevens arranged worship music for a Grammy Award-winning artist for a performance at the Westchester County Center. He is one of the few African Americans to earn a Masters degree in Music Therapy from New York University. On May 3, 2021, Donald Stevens will perform with The New York Songwriters Circle. Watch “You Can Change the Word” here: https://youtu.be/HVzNqWCWo1c
“On this songwriting journey, I see every conversation as a song. I don’t think about the lyrics, I think about the conversation. Every song has been written about an experience,” Stevens adds. “You never know where a conversation can take you.”
13 episodes of this award-winning show have been filmed featuring conversations with Knox and some of the most famous institutions in New York City. Multiple corporate sponsors have supported the show and its positive message. The production team is currently in talks with multiple networks for distribution.
“The show is like a love letter to New York,” Katz says. “Fans of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee will love it.”
BuzzFeed listed Date While You Wait in their 33 Incredibly New York Things That Have Happened During the Pandemic That Show How New Yorkers Feel About the Coronavirus.
Knox adds, “I didn’t do anything magical. I just connected with people. Anything is possible with passion.”
The “You Can Change the World” music video and more information about “Date While You Wait” can be found here: https://www.datewhileyouwait.tv/. Join the conversation by following the #DateWhileYouWait hashtag. Follow Donald Stevens on social media: @Mr. Donald (Facebook), @musicwithmrdonald (Instagram), Music With Mr. Donald (YouTube).