Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon and Bob Dylan have nothing on a group of local Greensboro musicians who have come together.
Well, they might have more money and fame – as well as their own personal chefs – but there’s now one thing those world-famous musicians don’t have over their Greensboro counterparts: a “We are the world” music project to help end poverty.
That’s because Greensboro area singers and musicians have come together to use music to help wipe out poverty – albeit on a smaller scale than USA for Africa did in the ’80s.
Greensboro native and Grammy Award winning record producer Andreao “Fanatic” Heard, who founded The Culture Pushers – a local 501(c) 3 nonprofit – has partnered with the United Way of Greater Greensboro to produce the new album that will be sold to help raise money to fight hunger and poverty. The album includes everyone from the Mount Zion Gospel Choir to Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan.
Heard, AKA “Fanatic,” is donating 100 percent of the album’s proceeds to support the United Way of Greater Greensboro’s effort to end local poverty.
The public is invited to come out and celebrate the album’s official release at the launch party on Friday, Sept. 6. That musical party will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. at Elm Street Lounge at 115 S. Elm St. in downtown Greensboro. At the event, artists from the album will be performing throughout the evening.
The new album “Artists United to End Poverty,” is already available for pre-sale purchase on iTunes – though it won’t be streaming on the Apple Music service.
Once the album officially releases on Sept. 6, it will be available on Amazon Music and Google Play. Album information and downloading instructions can be found at www.culturepushers.org/album.
Representatives of The Culture Pushers stated this week that music often acts as a driving force for social change. They said that one just needs to look to the counterculture and protest songs in the 1960s to “We Are the World” in the mid ’80s, to find evidence that “music is a transformative energy that creates and supports movements that showcase the best of our humanity.”
According to data provided by the Culture Pushers, Greensboro faces a major poverty problem and many area kids are growing up in poor families.
The new album includes over 50 songs and artists who’ve donated their music for the project, and it features the title track, “Die 4 Love,” which includes dozens of artists singing together in the style of “We are the World.”
Some of the contributors to the project are Vanessa Ferguson, Bishop Bryan J. Pierce Sr., Mount Zion Gospel Choir, The Hamiltones, Mayor Nancy Vaughan, John P. Kee, Laurelyn Dossett, Autumn Nicholas, Fanatic, Andre Fenix, Demeanor, Jordan Hawkins, Shelby J, Sybil, J. Timber, Molly McGinn, Quilla, Josh King, Jaron Strom, Citizen Shade, Tigo B, the infinitely talented and universally loved Jessica Mashburn, Josephus Thomson III, The Collection, Abigail Dowd, JBlanked, Debbie “The Artist” Long and Chris Meadows.
Fanatic said of the effort: “I felt compelled to get involved because I know the power of music and how it can help address social issues that exist in the community. Hopefully, this album will bring awareness to how real this poverty issue is in our city. The numbers are alarming. I’m excited to partner with United Way because after meeting and talking with them I can clearly see they are truly focused and committed to ending local poverty. As a record producer you dream of this ‘Quincy Jones moment’ where you can work with all these amazing artists and musicians for a greater cause.”
Michael Cottingham, the vice president of marketing and communications for United Way of Greater Greensboro, said, “Greensboro is full of caring people who do not accept children going to bed hungry, or adults struggling to meet basic needs as our reality. This project will help spread awareness and fuel United Way’s efforts that are working together to end poverty. Bold goals require bold moves and we hope other communities will use this project as a blueprint to address their own individual needs,”
Album sponsors include IberiaBank, the City of Greensboro, az development, the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, Downtown Greensboro Inc., Joy Shavitz, Randall Kaplan, Ann Zuraw and Mae Douglas.
The stated purpose of the Culture Pushers organization is “to be a curator for creating, supporting, and nurturing an environment where artists can grow and develop their craft or skill set in totality in the entertainment industry.”