On the evening of February 10, 2010, 16-year-old Sarah Phillips picked up her mobile phone and sang Paolo Nutini’s “Autumn” into it, without music, but with perfect pitch. Four-and-a-half hours later, Debbie died.
She intended to sing the song at her mother’s funeral, but instead family friend, Charlie Mole added an accompaniment and it was played at Debbie’s funeral. Sarah’s “Autumn” was so beautiful that many of the guests at the funeral asked if they could have a copy. Video of family holidays was added, and it was posted on YouTube. Within hours it had had several hundred hits. Within days it received tens of thousands of hits and it became one of the most viewed video clips on YouTube worldwide. It has had over 417,000 hits all around the world. It can be viewed here.
A facebook campaign “Make Autumn a single” was supported by thousands and in April 2010 it was released for download on iTunes. It went into the top 10 in the iTunes charts. In the Official UK singles chart on 3rd April 2010 it was the second highest new entry, and went to No.49. It also went to No.4 in the Indie Chart. Public interest was captured by press coverage at national and local level and Sarah was interviewed on national TV.
Paolo Nutini invited Sarah to his concert at the Royal Albert Hall and to a party after the show. The two met and chatted about “Autumn” and music. A collection for Debbie Fund was made at the concert.