A Sunnyvale teen has won international acclaim for her song “Echoes of War,” inspired by the people she met while living in Normandy, France.
Kedaton Campbell’s video for her song was set to be showcased in a virtual awards ceremony at the 19th annual My Hero International Film Festival on Nov. 18. The festival is dedicated to showcasing short films by student and professional filmmakers that celebrate the power of the human spirit. Kedaton’s music video won in the high school category for the 2023 Sing for Hope Music Video Award, which came with a cash prize.
In addition to the people of Normandy, Kedaton said she got inspiration for her song during walks with her father on the beaches where the Allied Forces’ D-Day operation took place during World War II.
“Every morning and evening, my dad and I took walks up and down the sands of Normandy–the historical site of the D-Day landings–and talked about how bravely our troops fought right where we stood decades ago,” she added. “This song is an expression of my gratitude to our heroes and a self-reflection toward history.”
“Echoes of War” isn’t the first song Kedaton has written and submitted to an issue-oriented competition. At age 10, she wrote “Ocean in Need” for the Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Contest.
“I care deeply about the state of our planet and the science that we must learn from to prevent future generations from surviving on an Earth barren of nature,” Kedaton said. “I believe that we can capture the world’s attention using art and speech to unite and fix the damage we caused to our planet.”
Kedaton’s visual art led her to that conclusion in 2018 after her painting “Love, Peace and Poppies” was named a runner-up in the annual competition held by Never Such Innocence, a London-based charity with the goal of giving young people around the world a voice on conflict and war.
“It changed my perspective on the importance of voicing my own beliefs,” she said. “It inspired me to encourage other people my age to speak their thoughts on world conflict, which led to where I am today.”
A lifelong homeschooler, Kedaton is pursuing a physics degree in community college.
“I am also passionate about rebuilding gender norms to inspire more young women to pursue a career in STEM from this generation forward,” she said.
To that end, she’s teamed up with Dr. Jessica Wade, a physicist from the United Kingdom, to promote inspiring women in STEM through writing Wikipedia articles.
“The percentage of articles on Wikipedia written about female scientists is about 19.7%, and Dr. Wade’s mission is to increase that number and give these remarkable women the credit and limelight they deserve,” Kedaton said.
As for basking in the limelight of her film festival award, Kedaton said, “I consider myself more of an artist and musician than a filmmaker, so to win an award for a film accompanied by my song is new for me.”