|Birth name||Zachary David Sobiech|
May 3, 1995|
Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
|Died||May 20, 2013
Lakeland, Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, piano|
|Associated acts||A Firm Handshake|
- This article includes, in addition to Zach Sobiech, coverage of the activities of the band A Firm Handshake
Zachary David "Zach" Sobiech (May 3, 1995 – May 20, 2013) was an American folk rock singer-songwriter from Stillwater, Minnesota, who was a member of the band A Firm Handshake. The single "Clouds" gained extensive media attention on YouTube, prior to Sobiech's death from cancer in May 2013. It charted on the Billboard Hot 100, eventually becoming a hit also in UK, Canada and France.
Life and career
At age 14, Sobiech was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a bone cancer which mostly strikes children. CBS reported that during his treatment he underwent 10 surgeries and 20 rounds of chemotherapy. He started writing music after his diagnosis.
In May 2012 his doctors informed him that he had up to a year to live. Sobiech recorded the song "Clouds" about his battle with cancer, and released it as a YouTube video in December 2012. It went viral, surpassing 3 million views at the time of his death. It currently has more than 10 million views and counting.
A Firm Handshake
|A Firm Handshake|
|Labels||Rock the Cause|
|Past members||Zach Sobiech (2012 until his death in May 2013)|
Prior to his death, Zach Sobiech formed the band A Firm Handshake with friends Samantha "Sammy" Brown and Reed Redmond. A Firm Handshake's first album, Fix Me Up, was released digitally in early 2013, charting in USA, UK and Canada. The debut single by A Firm Handshake is "How to Go to Confession" featuring Sammy Brown.
Sobiech died on May 20, 2013 of complications from osteosarcoma, at his home in Lakeland, an eastern suburb of Saint Paul, Minnesota, at age 18. His funeral was held at the Catholic Church of St. Michael and he was later buried in St. Michael's Cemetery.
Rainn Wilson's YouTube channel SoulPancake released a documentary about Sobiech, directed by director-actor Justin Baldoni, a part of its online reality series, My Last Days. The 22-minute episode of My Last Days: Meet Zach Sobiech has been watched more than 14 million times on the main SoulPancake YouTube channel. A further episode entitled My Last Days: Zach Sobiech, One Year Later was created to follow up with Zach's family and friends after his death.
Artists have released many tributes, including many cover versions of "Clouds" — with a prominent version of "Clouds" released on SoulPancake, featuring director Rainn Wilson himself, along with Bryan Cranston, Ashley Tisdale, Jason Mraz, Sara Bareilles, Colbie Caillat, Phillip Phillips, Passenger, The Lumineers and many others. The music video on SoulPancake presented in collaboration with Wayfarer Entertainment was directed by Justin Baldoni, produced by Baldoni and Ahmed Kolacek, with Fouad Elgohari as associate producer and Nick Pezzillo as editor. The video has been viewed over 4.7 million times on the SoulPancake YouTube channel.
On December 5, 2013 a choir of 5,000 sang Sobiech's hit song "Clouds" at the Mall of America. The event was organized by the KS95 Kids Radiothon in collaboration with the Children's Cancer Research Fund and Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare.
Zach's mother Laura Sobiech wrote a memoir about his life, Fly a Little Higher: How God Answered a Mom’s Small Prayer in a Big Way. In early 2016, it was announced that Warner Bros. will be making a film based on Laura Sobiech's book. Justin Baldoni is set to direct and it will be called 'Clouds' after Zach's own song.
Zach Sobiech discography
|"Clouds"||2013||26||3||29||14||26||73||50||8||From the A Firm Handshake album
Fix Me Up
A Firm Handshake discography
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|Fix Me Up||20||9||27||4||6||22||121||24|
|"How to Go to Confession"
(featuring Sammy Brown)
- "Zach Sobiech: Finding peace through music". childrenscancer.org.
- "Zach Sobiech's 'Clouds' Headed For Hot 100 Debut". Billboard.com. May 23, 2013. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
- Boehm, Kristin (20 May 2013). "Zach Sobiech Dies at 18, Teen with Cancer Who Sang Viral Hit "Clouds"". People. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
- "MN Teen Whose Song Touched The World Dies Of Cancer". CBS. 20 May 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
- "Viral Video Sensation Zach Sobiech Dies". Fox2Now. May 23, 2013. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
- Stump, Scott (20 May 2013). "Teen behind viral hit 'Clouds' dies of bone cancer weeks after celeb-filled tribute video". Today. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
- "Zach Sobiech, Terminally Ill Singer Who Channeled His Story Into 'Clouds', Dies at 18". Billboard.com. May 21, 2013. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
- Enayati, Amanda (May 20, 2013). "Teen featured in viral video dies". CNN. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
- "Lakeland teenager with rare cancer saying goodbye through song". Twin Cities. 2013-05-20. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
- "Zach Sobiech dies after his farewell song became a YouTube sensation". Christian Science Monitor. May 23, 2013. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
- Dyball, Renni. "Stars Serenade Zach Sobiech in Appreciation of His Brave Cancer Fight".
- on YouTube
- Hastings, Deborah (May 20, 2013). "Zach Sobiech, teen who wrote viral YouTube hit ‘Clouds’ about cancer, dies from it at 18". Daily News. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
- Full credits include, SoulPancake presents, in collaboration with Wayfarer Entertainment / Director/Producer: Justin Baldoni / Producer: Ahmed Kolacek / Associate Producer: Fouad Elgohari / Editor: Nick Pezzillo / with appearances by Brian Cranston, Sarah Silverman, Ashley Tisdale, Colbie Caillat, Chris Pratt, Anna Faris, Jason Mraz, Sara Bareilles, Andy Grammer, Jenna Fischer, Angela Kinsey, Jenna Elfman, Jack McBrayer, Lumineers, Jason Derulo, Kelly Oxford, The Mowglis, Rachel Bilson, Kina Grannis, Passenger, Creed Bratton, Tyler Hilton, Mark Duplass, Josh Gad, Jason Wade, Paul McDonald, Ed Helms, Phillip Phillips, Justin Young, Alyssa Shouse
- Divine, Mary. "5,000 sing Zach Sobiech's 'Clouds' in his memory at Mall of America". TwinCities.com. Pioneer Press. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
- New book will tell the story of Zach Sobiech, who wrote the song "Clouds"
- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Still Atop Hot 100, Zach Sobiech Debuts
- Ultratop.be/fr/ Zach Sobiech discography
- Lescharts.com Zach Sobiech discography
- Zywietz, Tobias. "Chart Log UK – 01/06/2013". zobbel.de. Tobias Zywietz. Retrieved August 1, 2013.
- "2013-06-01 Top 40 Independent Singles Archive". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 1, 2013.
- "A Firm Handshake > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved August 1, 2013.
- "2013-06-01 Top 40 Independent Albums Archive". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 1, 2013.
- on YouTube