It is amazing how calamities, natural disasters, or human tragedy in this world can sometimes bring people together as one. This is true for artists who have beautiful hearts and souls to create beautiful music to help out those affected by ugly tragedies.
We salute actors, musicians, composers, singers, and all performing artists who are always ready to extend a helping hand with their talents, as well as their influence. As immediate as these horrific events that take place, it is so heartwarming that these artists with oh so generous spirits say yes in a blink of an eye to jump into campaigns that answer calls for help.
When Tall Volcano erupted in January of 2020 Vehnee Saturno composed “Tulong Taal” in a fundraising effort with Carl Balita to help Filipinos displaced by the eruption. It gathered some of the country’s biggest singers including Ice Seguerra, Ebe Dancel, Bayang Barrios, Angeline Quinto, Jaya, The Company, Poppert Bernadas, Kakai Bautista, and Aicelle Santos. Isay Alvares called friends to record the song that aims to help with rehab and livelihood projects.
In response to the famine in Ethiopia, Bob Geldof and Midge Ure wrote “Do They Know It’s Christmas?“. It was recorded on November 25, 1984 by Band Aid, featuring many of the biggest British and Irish musical artists at that time including Paul Young, Boy George, George Michael, Sting, Phil Collins, Tony Hadley, and Bono. The single was released in the United Kingdom on December 3, 1984.
“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” has been re-recorded three times. The 1989 and 2004 versions were also to provide famine relief, while the newest version in 2014 was used to raise funds for the Ebola crisis in West Africa. The new version of the song that featured artists including One Direction, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, Emeli Sandé, Ellie Goulding, Rita Ora, and Chris Martin of Coldplay sold 1.8 million copies in the UK 30 years after the original song was released.
Inspired by Band Aid, USA for Africa gathered international music icons to record “We Are The World” written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie. The American benefit single for African famine was made possible by activist Harry Belafonte and fundraiser Ken Kragen. The original recording was released on March 7, 1985 featuring the composers and that generation’s most popular singers including Tina Turner, Ray Charles, James Ingram, Billy Joel, Al Jarreau, Cyndi Lauper, Huey Lewis & the News, Kenny Loggins, Bette Middler, Kenny Rogers, Diana Ross, Bruce Springsteen, Dionne Warwick, and Stevie Wonder.
25 years after, a new version of “We Are The World” was recorded to help Haiti rise from the rubble after a devastating earthquake. It featured Justin Bieber, Nicole Scherzinger, Jennifer Hudson, Jennifer Nettles, Josh Groban, Tony Bennett, Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton, Janet Jackson, Barbra Streisand, Miley Cyrus, Enrique Iglesias, Jamie Foxx, Wyclef Jean, Adam Levine, Pink, BeBe Winans, Usher, Celine Dion, Orianthi, Fergie, Nick Jonas, Mary Mary, Isaac Slade, Carlos Santana, Lil Wayne, Akon, T-Pain, LL Cool J, will.i.am, Snoop Dogg, Nipsey Hussle, Busta Rhymes, Swizz Beatz, Kid Cudi, IYAZ, Mann, and Kanye West.
Broadway Unite also has a version of the song featuring an all-star roster of theater artists calling for healing and unity in the world.
Sometimes artists also gather to protest in love, terrible acts against human rights or life itself. In 2016, Broadway for Orlando recorded a song in reaction to the violent shooting at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida. James Weasley spearheaded the idea to record the song “What the World Needs Now” by Hal David and Burt Bacharach. It was sung by an all-star cast of Broadway artists including Sara Bareilles, Kristen Bell, Liz Callaway, Michael Cerveris, Joshua Colley, Lilla Crawford, Joel Grey, Sean Hayes, James Monroe Iglehart, Carole King, Judy Kuhn, Nathan Lane, Zachary Levi, Jose Llana, Audra McDonald, Idina Menzel, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jessie Mueller, Donna Murphy, Kelli O’Hara, Orfeh, Bernadette Peters, Billy Porter, Alice Ripley, Chita Rivera, Keala Settle, BD Wong, and Tony Yazbeck. Seth Rudetsky did the musical direction. The organizers committed to donating 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the recording to the LGBT Community Center of Central Florida.
Fast forward to 2020, with the rising number of Coronavirus cases globally, we feel that it wouldn’t be too long that a song will be written in response to this tribulation. Many different groups are already doing efforts to donate goods or even raise funds for this cause. The challenge, however, is how to record a song with concerned artists who are self quarantined in their homes or are locked down in their respective countries. With today’s technology, who knows what artists can produce to find venues for their creativity.
We are excited to hear that wonderful collaboration, hopefully, in the future. For now, we leave a video reminder from children all over the world singing a Michael Jackson original because our world needs healing, it needs healing right now.