Music teacher dad’s heartfelt tribute song lands him record deal

Mark and Maia pictured together, Picture: Central Beds Council

Mark and Maia pictured together, Picture: Central Beds Council - Credit: Archant

A music teacher who works in Biggleswade with Central Bedfordshire’s Inspiring Music service has landed a five-year deal with an American publishing and licensing firm thanks to a song he penned in memory of his daughter.

Mrk plays live with various bands in the Bedfordshire area. Picture: Trev Earl

Mrk plays live with various bands in the Bedfordshire area. Picture: Trev Earl - Credit: Archant

Mark Ayles, who is currently working with special needs schools in Biggleswade, Dunstable, Houghton Regis and Kempston, wrote the song ‘You Should Be Here’ as a way of paying a heartfelt tribute following the death of his young daughter, Maia.

He originally recorded a version to be played at her memorial service, but it has since been rerecorded with well-known local artist Denny McCaffrey taking on the vocals while Mark plays piano along with music friends from local bands

Now that version, which was recorded in 2013, has been picked up by Music Of The Sea, which is based in Chicago and Los Angeles and provides music for film, television, video games and for big-name artists to re-record.

Maia was born in 1999, but she had a very rare congenital condition which affected her muscles and her breathing. She was at Great Ormond Street Hospital for two-and-a-half years, cared for by her mother, Moana, and Mark. Then she went home with the help of a 24-hour care team from Bedford – where the family lived together until Maia passed away in 2003.

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Mark said: “After Maia died I wasn’t in a very good place for a couple of years, but then I started delivering music sessions at the Ridgeway School in Kempston in 2005, which was Maia’s school when she got back to Bedford, and then in 2006/07 I wrote ‘You Should Be Here’.

He continued: “At the time, it was purely a tribute to Maia. Her mum is from New Zealand and she went over there to bury Maia’s ashes with her grandad’s. I wasn’t able to go so I recorded a version of the song with me singing to play at the service.

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“What I want to stress is that although it started as a tribute song to Maia, I never wanted it to be a sombre song, but rather a song for everyone. At Christmas time, there are always lots of people who are missing others. It’s something that people can empathise with.”

Music of the Sea are now promoting the song to film companies and top recording artists to see who wants to pick it up.

To view it onYouTube, visit

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