Charity Song of the Month:
Pop singer Suzie McNeil — whose recording career was launched on the TV reality show Rock Star: INXS and has four studio albums to her name — has released a charity single benefitting World Vision and the family of the Late Steve Klodt, who co-wrote the ballad with her. He passed away in 2012. Although there is no mention on iTunes that “AlOne” is for charity, McNeil tells Samaritanmag the proceeds will be split between the two causes. McNeil was inspired to write the song after a 2009 trip with World Vision to Zambia. “Everyone is everyone…You are not alone / We are all one,” she sings. Buy it here. — K.B.
After losing another friend to suicide, I Mother Earth singer and solo artist Brian Byrne wrote “Arizona (I Miss You Most),” which begins with the line “Tired of this/Give me hope.” All proceeds go to Collateral Damage, the suicide prevention and awareness group founded by Scott Chisholm, who lost his father. The single is available on Dine Alone Records. There’s also a powerful music video featuring people left behind holding messages to their loved ones. “My hope is that we really can change how we talk about suicide, open up and discuss," says Byrne. "No one should ever feel ashamed or lonely in this.” Buy it here. — K.B.
Quebec star Roch Voisine, who has sold more than 12 million albums, is the man behind the Canadian anthem for The Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. “This is the moment I’ve waited for all my life,” the ballad begins. Voisine will donate the profits to the Canadian Olympic Foundation to help support emerging athletes. "Living Out My Dreams" — which features musicians from the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and world-renowned conductor Maestro Kent Nagano — sells on iTunes for $1.29. “I am so proud the release of this new song will help support our next generation of Canadian athletes,” said Voisine in a statement. “When Dean Landon, Anika Paris and I wrote this song, our goal was to help inspire our athletes.” — K.B.
Toronto’s Choir! Choir! Choir! has performed with the legendary Patti Smith, stood in for Tegan and Sara when they couldn’t make the Polaris Music Prize Gala, and recently opened for Mayor Rob Ford at the 47th annual Cavalcade of Lights festival at Nathan Phillips Square. Now, for their first recording available on iTunes the 70-member choir has covered Wham! Classic “Last Christmas.” All the proceeds from the sale of the song go to MSF/Doctors Without Borders. The group is also trying to start a gift chain, whereby you purchase the song for 99-cents, gift it to three people and ask them to do the same. — K.B.
Written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance to commemorate the 100th anniversary in 2014 of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI), the anthemic “Ric-A-Dam-Doo” includes the lyrics “Hear the battle cry/See the Ric-A-Dam-Doo,” referring to words on the Regiment’s flag believed to mean “cloth of your mother” in Gaelic. “It’s the flag of freedom in the air,” it continues. The song — composed at the request of the Regiment’s Colonel-in-Chief, The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson — is sung by the PPCLI soldiers’ wives, featuring Edmonton’s Brittany Hancock and Angela Larson. The song, released digitally by Universal Music Canada, sells for $1.29 on iTunes and all proceeds will go to PPCLI Foundation, which provides funds, activities, and programs to support and care for Canadian military service and former military personnel in need. — K.B.
Internationally renowned Canadian vocal quartet The Tenors has teamed up with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America spokesperson/Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler on a pop ballad, “I Thank You,” in support of mentorship matching charity Big Brothers Big Sisters. The song — about the impact mentors play in the lives of young people — was conceived by Kenny Munshaw and co-written with the Tenors and Marc Jordan. It was produced in London, England by Sacha Skarbek, who co-wrote Miley Cyrus’ No. 1 "Wrecking Ball." There is also a music video. 50 cents from every download supports the organization's programs. — K.B.
Girls of the World — three leads and 30 in the choir — have united to create this resolute and inspirational song in honour of 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girls education activist shot in the head last October by the Taliban. She survived and is more determined than ever. A United Nation’s petition demanding all children be allowed to attend school by 2015 is circulating in her name, using the slogan “I Am Malala.” That is also the title of this urban-pop track, sung and rapped by these talented girls (watch the video). The lyrics include “I say the smarter the girl, then the stronger our world” and “Malala fought for education and she fought for her life. It’s hard to strive to be better when oppressed by the suppressors / treated like a lesser. Just be clever…” The song sells for 99-cents and proceeds go to The Malala Fund, led by Yousafzai, focused on helping all girls receive an education. — K.B.
“Weight” was the catalyst that gave Ottawa roots musician Larry Pegg the will to record another album after the crippling loss of his daughter to suicide in 2007. The song was written, literally between tears in his hotel room, while attending the 2012 Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention's National Conference. That same day, Pegg submitted it into CBC’s Lynn Miles songwriting contest where it made top 5. Later, Miles agreed to sing backup on the final version for his new album, Before And Afterlife: The Theory of Positivity. Pegg is donating 100 percent of the proceeds from downloads of “Weight” — and 50 percent of the full album download proceeds — to D.I.F.D., started in memory of 14-year-old Daron Richardson, who took her own life. The youth-driven initiative is focused on raising awareness and inspiring conversations about youth mental health. — K.B.
Marc Martel, the former singer for Canadian rock band Downhere who landed on Ellen after his Queen Extravaganza audition tape went viral (he got the gig, btw) co-wrote “No More Hurting People” with Mark Heimermann in honour of the victims and survivors of the Boston bombings April 15. The title, of course, are those beautiful words 8-year-old Martin Richard — who was killed in the attack — had written on a poster-board sign last year after the murder of Trayvon Martin. The song, released under the name Vapor Feat. Marc Martel, is free to download with a “pay what you can” option to donate towards the One Fund Boston set up for those most affected by the bombings. “This anthem's purpose is to counter the effects of evil and hatred,” it reads on the website. Download and donate here. — K.B.
The horror unleashed on Sandy Hook Elementary School Dec. 14 when a gunman killed 20 children and six adult staff will never fade for the parents and Newtown, CT community. While the grown-ups lobby Washington for new gun legislation, 21 kids from the school are singing out in a different way. Spearheaded by concert promoter Tim Hayes, the Children of Newtown Choir back multi-platinum-selling folk-pop singer Ingrid Michaelson on “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.” The song was recorded at the Connecticut home studio of couple Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, formerly of Talking Heads and the Tom Tom Club. Proceeds from the sale of the track will benefit the Newtown Youth Academy and the United Way of Western Connecticut. Purchase here. — K.B.
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