Since first seeing Dalton Rapattoni on American Idol, viewers could instantly tell that he was all about being yourself and spreading joy to others. That’s just the vibe he brought to the screen. At a young age, Dalton was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but that didn’t stop him from achieving his goals. Not only does he make sure to not let a disorder define him, he now makes sure that anyone who is struggling with anything knows that they are not alone, and that it does get better. According to Dalton’s mother, Kiva Rapattoni, as soon as he found music, it was like everything fell into place.
“The symptoms don’t ever go away, but you do get better at being bipolar,” said Dalton in an interview with Learning Liftoff.
In that same interview with Learning Liftoff, Dalton explained the misconception or stereotype about bipolar disorder that he wants to see go away. He shared saying, “The biggest stereotype I’d like to see go away is the misconception that all people with bipolar disorder are shut-ins. I’m a pretty severe introvert, but I still go out and interact with people every day, and most people I know with bipolar do as well. Some people I meet never know that I have it, because I’m medicated in a way that fits me.”
They also asked him what advice or encouragement would he give to young students just discovering they are bipolar. Dalton then explained saying, “I would just tell them that it does get better. The symptoms don’t ever go away, even if you take medicine for it, but you do eventually get better at being bipolar. You start to notice when it’s just your brain talking and not how you really feel, and there’s catharsis in that.”
Dalton Rapattoni is a perfect inspiration and example that dealing with something you may not understand at first doesn’t define you. For him, it clearly brought out the strength he needed to follow his dreams.
CelebMix took the time to speak to some Dalton Rapattoni fans from around the world, and this is what they had to say. Each photo belongs to the person’s name above it.
Ren Insley | 18 | Virginia – “I’ve been a fan of Dalton for a while now. I have even covered a few of his songs. I wanted to say that Dalton has helped me tremendously in the last couple of years, he’s been so nice and caring. During my freshman and sophomore year I was having a really hard time dealing with losing a lot of my hearing. Dalton’s music was like a comfort blanket to me, I showed him to everyone I knew.”
“In the middle of my sophomore year we decided to go through with the surgery to correct my hearing, the day before my major surgery Dalton tweeted me wishing me luck and and to tell me that I was in his prayers. A week later during my recovery he called me from Spring freaks, asking me how I was and wished me well. Unfortunately the surgery didn’t work and it left me 70-80% deaf in my right ear, leaving me to have to wear a hearing aid 24/7 for the rest of my life. I’m also 30% deaf in my left ear and they told me that I will just keep losing my hearing for the rest of my life unfortunately I’m losing it quicker than they want and I will be completely deaf at one point. After finding out about my hearing loss I never really felt like myself again, i had stopped singing which is my passion and i stopped caring.”
“Then Dalton came out with a song called “Misunderstood” and I realized it was okay to be different. Dalton was there for me when I felt like no one else was, I felt like nobody knew what I was going through or how I felt but he did. I’ve suffered from depression for a really long time ever since I was little, hearing his story really pushed me to finally get some much needed help. Watching Dalton pursue his dream inspired me to peruse mine, but unfortunately due to my rare intestinal disorder I never know if it’s going to be a good day or bad day, and I never know if I’m going to wake up sick due to my weak immune system.”
“My dream has been put on hold because of all my medical issues, but lately I’ve been working on my other dream and as of October 14th that dream will come true. On October 14th I will get the chance to meet my favorite person in the world, and tell him how proud I am of him and how much he means to me. Come the 14th I may cry because this will be the biggest thing to happen to me in my 18 years. Dalton is my role model and getting the chance to finally tell him that will make me the happiest person alive.”
Gracie | 13 | Johnson City, Tennessee – “There are a lot of reasons why I love Dalton Rapattoni. I deal with anxiety and sometimes depression and I think hearing his story and how he’s doing what he loves and powers through everyday just reminds yourself that you can do the same. If you do that, if you power through whatever your obstacles are, that’s you doing that not Dalton.”
“He’s my favorite singer because to me Dalton is a guy who is really funny, sweet, and a little socially awkward, but to me that’s a good thing. On the inside I think he’s a really smart and sensitive guy. For me I don’t think the perfect guy is someone who went to college and has a really fancy high end job. For me I think the perfect guy is someone who loves what they do and tries their best at it and isn’t afraid of their flaws, but embraces them and tries to be a good, kind person and a good friend to someone who needs one.”
“For me I think that Dalton is one of those people. I see the kindness in him, in his eyes, in his smile, and I hear it in his music. That’s why he’s one of my favorite people in the world and my favorite artist. #ImNobodyToo”
Amy Cieslak | 37 | Twin Lakes, Wisconsin – “Words cannot even begin to express the magnitude to which Dalton Rapattoni has touched my life. Since childhood, I have been struggling with anxiety, depression, and bipolar. My whole life there has been only one person who truly supported me every step of the way throughout each battle no matter how big or small. That special person is my loving mom.”
“I’m a very shy, quiet person and although her personality is the exact opposite of mine, she has always reached out to me and found ways to understand what I am enduring. My mom has always been super spunky, outgoing, energetic, a social butterfly and the rock of our whole family. She was always the person that everyone could rely on and she seemed invincible. Until recent years, I really did think that she would live way beyond the age of 100.”
But then she encountered the biggest battle of her lifetime, Alzheimer’s disease. The past few years have been extraordinarily difficult on me watching my best friend deteriorate. She quickly went from being the woman who knew everything about everyone to now not recognizing her friends and family. No longer the spunky, fun-loving life of the party person. She is currently unable to communicate anymore and bed-ridden in hospice care.”
“Not having my mom here the way she always used to be has crushed me into a million emotional pieces. I cry daily but I also pray through my tears too. I know God answers my prayers and he provides me with what I need. When I discovered Dalton Rapattoni on American Idol, I knew that God put him on this earth to help others. I’m so thankful that Dalton is sharing his special gift of music with the world. Knowing that he struggles with bipolar makes him so much more amazing for so many of us. His music gets me through all the hardships and helps me have confidence in myself. When I was visiting my mom in the nursing home recently, I was holding her hand, crying and listening to Dalton’s song “Turn to Stone.”
“While I was visiting with her I was listening to Dalton Rapattoni’s music and sobbing holding her hand, I prayed for God to shower her with happiness and bring her the peace she is so deserving of. My mom looked at me and smiled! She said, “Amy, I’m so glad I found you! I’ve been looking for you everywhere!””
“Since that day a few months ago, my mom has rapidly declined and no longer remembers much of anything at all anymore. When I met Dalton at the meet and greet in Chicago last month, I wanted to tell him how much he and his music means to me. But I suddenly became that shy, frightened little girl inside and couldn’t find the words to speak. Even though my daughter and I had a wonderful time and got his autograph and a few pics, I’m still wishing I could express to him how he has touched my life. I want him to see me as a friend the way I see him as a special person.”
“As the end draws near and I will have to live life without my mom, I know I’ll continue listening to Dalton’s music and finding the strength within me to go on. When my mom is no longer on this earth, I know she will always be my guardian angel. God has blessed me with the most wonderful gifts in the world…my family, my friends, and Dalton Rapattoni. If he saw this, I would be forever grateful.”
Sue | 49 | Massachusetts – “I’m on the other end of the fan base, but Dalton is my absolute favorite musician, and I’m old enough to have been exposed to hundreds if not thousands. His beautiful voice and musical style first got my attention, but his willingness to show his personal vulnerabilities is what kept me a fan. I teach middle school and I’m a mom of three. I suffer from depression, as does my daughter who was hospitalized for a while because of it.”
“The way that Dalton tries to remove the stigma of mental illness. The way he has connected with so many fans and has helped us feel okay abut the different issues we are all facing, and the way he just makes every person feel as though he/she matters is a gift that very few people have, let alone a 20-year old kid who has his own obstacles to face. He’s just an amazing talent with a heart of gold. Who wouldn’t love that?”
Cheyenne | 21 | Texas – “Dalton’s someone that you can tell has something special about him. I have a couple of his songs that I actually listen to when I’m going through a hard time. I’m happy I ended up finding him because I don’t know what I’d do without his music or the friends I’ve made among the Nobodies. He’s helped me in an indirect way.”
Mary McMahon | 53 | New York – “The first time I saw Dalton perform it was love at first sight. His song choice, his performance, his heart and soul jolted me right out of my seat. Unique is the perfect word. Dalton is an extremely talented and gifted musician and artist. His ability to feel the music and convey those feelings to his audience is something to be savored. His style is young and fresh. His personality is salty and sassy.”
“I most love his original songs. He is a lyrical genius. He has been called the male Taylor Swift. The way he moves and dances on the stage when he performs with such charisma has been compared to Elvis. His kindness of character cheerfully meeting all his fans and greeting them with a smile. At a time when other artists are walking off the stage or kicking their fans, Dalton is thankful for his fans and their loyalty. Others in the music world and life in general set themselves above everyone else. Other “musicians” use sex to sell their watered down commonplace babble they call music. Large booty and nudity in tow has become the gold standard in order to force sales. I am proud of the fact that despite his good looks Dalton doesn’t try to sell sex to gain followers. He doesn’t need to because he has raw talent.”
“Being a fan means you are actually a part of his “Nobody” family. I have met his mom, dad, a sister and East Coast Grandma all at his concerts. I adore the fact that his shows are for the entire family. He has bridged the age gap. I have seen grandmothers with their daughters and grandchildren enjoying the show. All ages love Dalton. Dalton is inspirational by sharing his mental health struggles and imperfections in general. He gives hope to so many. He gets up every day and gives it his best even when it’s not easy. He encourages others to do the same.”
“Dalton’s music is also inspirational. A year ago my superstar, my son (a magna cum laude graduate and sports team captain) had a psychotic break at age 24 and we are told he has suddenly developed a mental illness. My husband was also diagnosed with cancer at about the same time. I run a demanding business and help care for my 94 year old mother. I don’t have time or patience for nonsense.”
“My favorite Dalton song is “Hercules” and I sing it regularly to my son. “When the sky is falling I can hold it for you” and “You’re not beyond saving” are just some of my favorite lyrics. Another favorite song is “Open Book” because it actually speaks to the truth about not judging others and also that we are all connected. My interpretation supports the concept of the hologram. We are the whole.”
“Dalton has made a unique connection with his fans. His success is our success. We can all make a difference in the life of another. When we pay it forward we are really helping others but also ourselves at the same time. Dalton makes us feel like we are one with him. He makes us feel what he is feeling and inspires us through his music. We have his back and he is grateful. The love is unconditional. He doesn’t have to be anything or do anything or even achieve any particular level of success. Dalton doesn’t want to ever disappoint his fans. He can’t. His mere existence in this world is enough. It’s refreshing and it’s a gift. The world needs a Dalton Rapattoni in it. My name is proudly on the side of his tour bus.”
Kenzie |19 | Nova Scotia, Canada – “I’ve struggled with depression and social anxiety for a few years now and music has always been my way to escape from the Horrors in my mind. When Dalton was on idol I worked almost every night so I didn’t watch tv, but my parents watched it and would save the show so I could just watch his performance because I loved his voice. When he opened up about having mental illness it made me really happy to see that someone that’s struggled with similar things could be doing so well.”
“When he sang “Bird Set Free” I sobbed, it broke me, and made me realize that I was not okay, and that I needed to get help because the way I was feeling was not how I should feel. So that performance motivated me to get re-medicated, and I got the help I needed. I went to Toronto to see him a few months back and I got Dalton to write bird set free for me and I got it tattooed on my wrist~ and every time the depression gets really bad and I don’t want to keep trying I think of how strong I can be, and how safe I felt when I got to hug Dalton and just that I didn’t have to live in a cage, that I too could be a bird set free. I also have a huge fear of needles so that fact that I could get over that fear to get a tattoo was really awesome.”
Bella | 13 | Oregon, USA – “I love Dalton because he genuinely cares about his supporters. most people would brush it off as “just being nice” but you can tell he’s being genuine. he’s such a kind-hearted person, and he deserves the world. he helped me save myself by knowing i’ll never be alone and to keep going, because better days are to come.”
Shelby Saragino | 19 | Delaware – “I have suffered from depression and anxiety ever since my dad passed away. Seeing Dalton publicly open up and talk about his depression and bipolar disorder gave me the courage to get help with mine. He has also taught me that it is okay to be myself that I don’t have to fit in. For that I am forever grateful for him and I could never thank him enough. I have supported him through out his whole journey, since the beginning and I will continue to support him till the end. I am a proud #Nobody.”
Mary Buxton | 48 | Southern California – “The picture below kind of sums it up why I love Dalton. “Stop” was the very first song of his that I listened to and the lyrics broke my heart. I was compelled to tweet him…and he liked my tweet. I began to dig for more of his original music, while simultaneously following his journey on American Idol. My admiration for him grew as I unearthed more original songs. His lyrics and the passion in which he preforms continues to blow me away.”
“He motivated me to not only pick up a pen and write again, but to pick up my camera and create again. Both of these photos were taken in Chicago during the last stop on the School of Rock tour. Merging them together just seemed appropriate. In addition, his last stop in Chicago gave me the opportunity to meet an entire group of nobodies that I would have never met if it wasn’t for him. I never knew I needed them and him as much as I do. Dalton, don’t ever stop.”
Velamina | 41 | Kentucky – “The photo below is a picture I took of him the first time I met him. It’s from the School of Rock Gives Back Tour in Cleveland at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Dalton’s heart is so open for all of us to see. It takes such courage and strength to share such a real and deep part of yourself. He lays himself bare and I feel so much. I was so drawn to him the first time I saw him on my TV screen during American Idol auditions, I decided right then I would watch the show one last time until he was gone. I recognized something within him that has been living and breathing in my heart for a long time, it’s name is heartbreak. Maybe when your heart is truly broken because you lost what to truly loved, you die a little inside everyday.”
“It’s always there, lurking, waiting for any opportunity to jump on a memory, a smell, a place, some favorite music, anything to shove it right back in your face. Years may go and still the small things drive you right back, dreams and pictures in your mind never let you go. This is why I love Dalton, I found in him someone who understands, who feels what I feel, I’m not alone and that touched me in all my broken places and I felt something different. He fixed a place I didn’t even know was broken. It made me better. His music soothes my hurting heart and his lyrics are straight from my soul.
“He is beautiful in every way and his light shines in all my dark places and gives me hope. He brought inspiration into my life again and as an artist, true inspiration is our life’s blood. I will never be able to thank him enough. He changed my life in a way I never expected and I am truly grateful.”
Kristin | 16 | Canada – “The reason I love Dalton so much is how much he inspires everyone and is always so down to earth. My mom even said he’s super down to earth when she met him! When I met him I was super anxious, on the verge of an anxiety attack, but he was so sweet and chill I was calmed instantly. I’ve had some pretty tough times in my life and for some reason Dalton just seems to make everything better.”
“He inspires me to never give up on my dreams and to stay strong the best I can. He’s not like other artists, his songs are so lyrically beautiful and touching, they really connect with you. No matter what he does I will be there to support him, because he is one of a kind and he does so much for us nobodies and I honestly couldn’t be more grateful. He’s simply amazing in every way.”
Cassidy | 16 | Texas – “Dalton inspired me to take electric guitar lessons at my local School Of Rock, and helped me not worry about what people think and to pay attention to the small things in life as well as made me feel like a somebody.”
Kristen Rumon | 19 | livonia, Michigan – “Dalton really inspired me to get through some really tough times and back into music. I am a musician myself, and have been playing and involved in music for nine years now. Similar to Dalton, I grew up with a mental disorder, and music gave me a whole new meaning of life. Growing up I never told anyone about my mental disorder in fear they would tease or that it would be a burden on them. Little did I know this would not be the case at all. Just this past spring I lost a friend very unexpectedly due to a mental disorder none of us were aware of. I went back into a dark place, and gave up music. This is when I started seeing more videos and articles pop up about Dalton on Twitter and Facebook.”
“Dalton full on inspired me to get back into music and raise awareness for mental illness and suicide. The way he performs and changes songs to make them brand new is amazing to me. Don’t even get me started with his original songs, they are absolutely beautiful. I actually picked up guitar (still not the best at it, but we’re getting there) and became very passionate with the other instruments I know how to play. When Dalton talked about bipolar he opened up so many doors for people with mental disorders.”
“I don’t even think he knows how much it means to every single person effected! Because of him I no longer look at my mental disorder as a setback, but as an opportunity to generate something great from it. Speaking out and making others aware of teen suicide and making mental disorders more aware and less taboo is so important to me. I just want to let Dalton know he is such an important part of who I have become today. We may not know each other personally, but he has forever changed the way I look at life.”
Whitney Kimbar | 29 | Boston – “I first became a fan of Dalton’s when he was on American Idol. I’d never watched Idol before, but decided to follow the show since it was its last season. Dalton stood out from the other contestants because of the emotion he put into every performance. He also used his platform on Idol to share his struggle with Bipolar Disorder, and I was immediately struck by his courage in doing so. I work with kids who struggle with mental illness, and I was so touched by his passion for enlightening others about a subject that is important yet is often considered too taboo to talk about. Although I enjoyed the covers he performed on the show, I fell in love with his original music that I found on YouTube, and he quickly became my favorite artist.”
“Dalton’s music moves people in a way that I’ve never experienced from listening to any other artist. He uses lyrics to communicate emotions and experiences others often struggle to articulate, and he puts his entire heart into every song and every performance. His songs are smart, passionate, and beautifully written. Listening to Dalton’s music is truly a cathartic experience. Regardless of what you may be feeling one day, his music reminds you that there’s someone else out there who understands. I read in one of his interviews that people often credit him with saving their lives, and he explained that the reality is that people decided to save themselves while they happened to be listening to his music. I found this to be so striking, and so true. His insight, heart, and strength are an inspiration, and his talent is undeniable.”
“Dalton goes above and beyond for his fans. He feels so accessible to those who follow his music, and always seems incredibly humbled and appreciative of the support. During the School of Rock Gives Back Tour, he posed for thousands of pictures and signed countless autographs to thank his supporters of voting for him on Idol; he’s continued his quest to meet as many fans as possible on his new tour. Dalton’s team does whatever they can to show the same kind of support to his fans as they show to him. His team very graciously ensures his fans have unforgettable experiences at his shows, and jump in to save the day when life interferes.”
“A few weeks ago, I was driving with a friend to see a show from Boston to Bridgeport, CT, and I quickly realized that we weren’t going to make it in time. What should have been a 3-4 hour drive ended up taking about seven, and we missed the entire show. We were beyond bummed, and I posted about it in the Team Dalton Rapattoni Facebook group. Within minutes, other group members were sharing supportive sentiments and began asking if we could use our tickets to attend another show instead. Without hesitation, Dean Tarpley jumped in to invite us to not only attend another show that weekend but also offered to upgrade our tickets to attend the Eat and Greet before the show, as well as the Meet and Greet after the show. My friend and I attended a show the following day, and stuck around to meet Dalton, his band, and Dean. The generosity and hospitality provided by his team is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, and it was truly an experience I’ll never forget.”
Want to share your story? Let us know why you love Dalton and how he changed your life by tweeting us @CelebMix.