Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander readers are advised that this story contains the name and image of people who have died.
Turvey was a 15-year-old Noongar-Yamatji boy who was killed in an unprovoked assault last month while walking home from school. He was taken to hospital and died 10 days later from his injuries. A 21-year-old man has since been charged with his murder.
As NITV reports, new song ‘Forever 15’, an ode to the “young teacher, beat-maker and future leader”, has been created by more than a dozen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander musicians in collaboration with Turvey’s family.
The track began forming after Jawoyn Kaurareg music producer Candice Lorrae – who is one half of pop duo The Merindas – reached out to Turvey’s mother, Mechelle, following her son’s death. The pair had long been friends, having played in a band together. Enquiring about how she could lend her support, Turvey’s mother asked Lorrae and her husband, the rapper Bryte, to write a song.
Lorrae began making calls across the country, selecting “artists that had a relationship with the teenager, his favourite artists, or who had used their platform to advocate for the family”, according to NITV. The song was produced by DOBBY, and features Lorrae, Bryte, Donovan, Wurramara, Kee’ahn, DRMNGNOW, Fred Leone, Deline Briscoe, Bumpy, Tani Walker, Jamahl Ryder, MissGenius, Optamus and Flewnt. Listen below:
“None of us were in the same room… but everyone just jumped on and was 100 per cent committed,” Lorrae told NITV. “We were really anxious the entire time, not knowing how it would turn out, if it would do justice. But I think… it turned out incredible. The track is just so full of heart.
“We are really humbled and honoured that we are able to give something to the family to help the healing process,” Lorrae added. “It’s helped us too in our healing process… it gives us something to cry to.”
In addition to the aforementioned contributors, ‘Forever 15’ also features recordings of Turvey’s family and loved ones, including his mother, nan, nephews, nieces, and actor Ernie Dingo.
“Cassius, mum’s baby boy. This is so wrong, you should be with us by my side,” Mechelle Turvey says towards the end of the song. “I love you so much. Forever 15, my darling.”
Announcing the song on Instagram earlier this week, DOBBY said: “Words can’t express the hurt and pain we as mob feel for young brother Cassius and his family. I’m deeply saddened and honoured to have been a part of this song, and I hope these vibrations can help paint a clearer picture of the impact his loss has had on all of us, especially his community.”
In her own post, Wurramara said she was “so honoured to be [a part] of this track alongside so many deadly brothers and sisters”. Kee’ahn remembered Turvey, who was an emerging musician himself, as a “deadly rapper… and beat maker” who had started a community mowing business with his friends. “A beautiful soul.”
DRMGNOW said his peers had “all put precious heart and soul into” the song, and that he’d “shed tears every single time” he’d played the track back. “So much to feel.. For a dear life, as bright as the brightest of stars,” he wrote. “You are honoured and loved Cassius and all the family and our young fullas connected to dear little brother.”
Cassius Turvey was walking home from school with a group of friends on October 13 in Perth, when a group of men in a utility vehicle approached them and began verbally harassing them. One of the men exited the vehicle and assaulted Turvey in what is believed to have been, and been described by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, as a racially-motivated attack. Turvey’s death sparked candlelight vigils and rallies across the country.