Charity Song of the Month:
In the lead up to the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, taking place July 25-Aug. 2 in Los Angeles, Canadian pop-rock artist Avril Lavigne has released “Fly” to benefit the Special Olympics, which helps people with intellectual disabilities overcome barriers through sports. “This song means a lot to me personally,” Lavigne said in a statement. “It is inspired by the many young people I’ve met throughout my work with my Foundation. They pursue their dreams no matter what obstacles they face.” “We were all meant to fly…it’s your time to shine…it’s your time to fly,” she sings. Lavigne co-wrote the song with her husband, Chad Kroeger, and David Hodges, and co-produced it with Chris Baseford. Buy it here. — Karen Bliss
Two of the best modern soul singers today, America’s John Legend and Britain’s Sam Smith, join forces on a charity single for Comic Relief. The powerful song is Smith’s “Lay Me Down” from his 2014 debut album, In The Lonely Hour. Released for UK telethon Red Nose Day March 13, Smith and Legend cut the new version of the song earlier this year in Los Angeles. Universal Music will donate 100 percent of the profits to Comic Relief which uses the money “to tackle the root causes of poverty and social injustice in the UK and across the world.” Buy it here. Red Nose Day — on which the pair performed — airs in the U.S. on NBC May 21. — Karen Bliss
In late October, Taylor Swift announced that all the proceeds from “Welcome to New York”— from her 2014 album, 1989 — would go to the New York City Department of Education, which serves 1.1 million students in more than 1800 public schools. In late February, the 25-year-old made the first payment of $50,000 after the pop song was certified gold (500,000 units) by the RIAA. Co-written by Swift and OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, the lyrics celebrate the famed city, where she purchased a penthouse in Tribeca and relocated from Nashville. Additional proceeds from the single will continue to go the NYC D.O.E. schools. Buy it here. — Karen Bliss
Toronto’s Julian Taylor Band is donating $2 from every copy sold of their latest album, Tech Noir, to the Canadian Women’s Foundation, whose mandate is to “empower women and girls in Canada to move out of violence, out of poverty and into confidence.” When the Jian Ghomeshi scandal made headlines last fall, it sparked open conversation about sexual violence and harassment of women and the Julian Taylor Band decided to create the Be Good To Your Woman challenge, named after their soulful song. The idea is to create and share a video talking about what it means to be good to your woman. Go here for instructions. — Karen Bliss
Singer Bif Naked is donating 100 percent of the song proceeds to AIDS Vancouver. "Intellectual" — from a series of dance tracks she wrote and recorded with Jason Darr (Out of Your Mouth, Neurosonic) — was intended to be lighthearted and fun. She tells Samaritanmag the song is “truly an anthem for self-esteem, for gender fluidity and sexual self-identity, which empowered us and empowered our friends.” Some of the lyrics are: “Leave no stone unturned, for this is your life…what are you? What do you want to be? Are you a boy or a girl? Intellectual Homosexual! Glamorous Heterosexual! Ambidextrous Metrosexual! Baby, let's get reprehensible! ..." Buy it here. — Karen Bliss
City and Colour’s Dallas Green has been sitting on the ghostly acoustic track "Nowhere Texas" since recording his latest album, The Hurray and the Harm, waiting for find the right cause to donate the proceeds. He told Samaritanmag he wrote it after watching the film Texas Killing Fields about “these girls from these small towns get picked up and raped and killed and dropped into this swamp and they can’t seem to tie any of them together or convict anyone.” Green has finally released it and is donating all proceeds to YWCA of Canada’s Rose Campaign, created after the Montreal massacre of 14 women on Dec. 6 1989 and a year-round effort to reduce violence against women. Buy the song here. — Karen Bliss
Canadian rapper Snow, best known for his 1993 No. 1 hit “Informer,” suffered a great loss when his wife, Tamei, passed away suddenly of cancer in 2009. In her honour, he has released a charity single, “Shame,” featuring reggae legend Mykal Rose (Black Uhuru), and 100 percent of the proceeds go to the Karen E. Mumford Cancer Foundation (KEM). The non-profit provides financial assistance to cancer patients and helps broaden awareness of the disease. Produced by Kent Jones and Cool & Dre, the song, however, isn’t about cancer, rather it explains why he disappeared from the music scene in the U.S. following “Informer.” Buy it here. — Karen Bliss
Samaritanmag.com founder also owns a shoestring indie record label and a portion of the sales from Walter Senko's uplifting “We Are The Cure" will benefit Wellspring Cancer Support Network until Dec. 31, 2014. The song, a perfect fit for October's breast cancer awareness month, carries the powerful message of hope and believing in bigger things. Co-written and produced by Sum 41’s Cone McCaslin, it was inspired by Rob Dyer of Skate4Cancer whose motto is "dream love cure.” Dyer lost his mom, grandmother and best friend to cancer and has skated across North America, Australia and New Zealand educating youth about cancer. Buy the song here and watch the video (feat. Dyer) here. — Sari Colt
When Latin pop star Shakira tweeted Oxford University group Out of the Blue, “Hey @ootboxford, we LOVE your a capella [sic] Shak medley,” and linked to the video, well the retweets and favorites followed as well as views in the millions on YouTube. The all-male a cappella student choir from the esteemed English university — decked out in suits and ties (sometimes shirts unbuttoned) and amusingly imitating her dance moves — recorded the video to “Hips Don't Lie” and posted it in late July. Proceeds from the sale of the song go to the Helen & Douglas House Children’s Hospice. Check it out here. — KB.
“It only takes one to start a revolution,” sings Light Fires’ Regina, the drag queen persona of Toronto’s Gentleman Reg (Vermue), on the infectious dance number “Last of His Kind.” The song is a tribute to Vazaleen club night impresario Will Munro who died of brain cancer in 2010. A portion of the proceeds from #entertainment’s Where There’s A Will There’s A Way remix goes to the Will Munro Fund which provides support for queer and trans-gendered people living with cancer. Buy it here. — K.B.
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