(Nashville, TN) November 19, 2008 – Twelve CompassionArt songwriters, joined by seven genre-defining guest vocalists, have come together for an unprecedented offering to help the poorest of the poor through the 14-song charity album, CompassionArt: Creating Freedom From Poverty. This groundbreaking recording, which includes a compelling 50-minute DVD CompassionArt documentary, will be available at both physical and digital retail outlets everywhere beginning Jan. 27, 2009 in the US through EMI CMG, and Nov. 24, 2008 in Europe and Scandinavia through Fierce!/Kingsway, Asia, Africa and South America through Integrity, and Australia and New Zealand through Crossroads.
Nineteen of the most well-known artists in the whole genre of Christian/Gospel music are featured on the CompassionArt: Creating Freedom From Poverty recording: (Songwriters) Paul Baloche, Steven Curtis Chapman, Stu G, Israel Houghton, Tim Hughes, Graham Kendrick, Andy Park, Matt Redman, Martin Smith, Michael W. Smith, Chris Tomlin, and Darlene Zschech; and (Guest Vocalists) Kirk Franklin, Amy Grant, Joel Houston, Leeland Mooring, Christy Nockels, tobyMac and CeCe Winans. Together, they combine for: 101 million albums sold, 103 No. 1 songs, 32 GRAMMY Awards, 202 Dove Awards, 18 Stellar Awards, 3 American Music Awards, and 116 CCLI Top 500 songs sung by millions in churches around the world.
The goal of CompassionArt and this recording, including the current radio single “King of Wonders” being heard on the K-LOVE Radio Network and other stations across the country, is to engage people everywhere to help end world poverty. None of these artists will ever receive a dime for their efforts. And this is not just a one-time offering, but will be a forever offering for the life of the songs through CompassionArt. In addition to the songwriters and guest vocalists, the publishers, managers, record labels, copyright institutes and agents involved are donating their efforts on this project to CompassionArt.
CompassionArt is not a one-time Live Aid (1985 multi-venue rock concert benefit) concert, nor just one We Are The World (1985 charity radio song)-type song, but a whole album of original songs forever donated to the poor. Songs can be heard, recorded, re-recorded and sung for generations, earning royalties for publishers when the songs are played and through a variety of other outlets over many years. The song, “Happy Birthday,” generates an estimated $2 million a year for its publisher. That is the hope for these CompassionArt songs, except all the proceeds go to charity.
“We are a global community, an underground adventure, a map being drawn as we speak that connects wealth with poverty, art with hope, compassion with despair,” says CompassionArt founder and Delirious? frontman Martin Smith. “We have united ourselves as a community of artists and songwriters to give it all away. Please join us by purchasing the album, playing these songs and singing them in your church services.
“Every CompassionArt songwriter has nominated a charitable project that will share in half the proceeds that these songs raise,” continues Smith. “The projects supported include those that offer people primary healthcare, clean water, education and more. But we also wanted to do something together; we wanted to invest the other half of the proceeds in projects that would join the dots between art and compassion.”
Four collective projects were chosen to receive 50% of the proceeds from these songs: Hand of Hope, offering relief and restoration for families caught up in Mumbai, India’s sex trade and food and education for children scraping for survival on a rubbish dump in Phnom Penh, Cambodia (www.joycemeyer.org/OurMinistries/HandofHope); Stop The Traffik, a global movement against the trafficking of people that has more than 1,000 member organizations in 50 countries and a grassroots following of ordinary activists around the world (www.stopthetraffik.org); Ray of Hope, a team of people in remote parts of Brazil that meets the needs of children; food, education, support, advice, clothing and medical aid (www.rayofhopeamazon.com); and Watoto, a charity helping orphaned children to abused mothers, and helping to restore hope to people whose lives have been devastated by suffering, providing creative life centers, encouraging artistic education and plans for a better future for all (www.watoto.com).
The 12 projects being supported by the CompassionArt songwriters are: For The Silent (forthesilent.org, Paul Baloche); Shaohannah’s Hope (www.shaohannahshope.org, Steven Curtis Chapman); Beanz Meanz Livez (www.beanzmeanzlivez.com, Stu G); Lakewood Missions (www.lakewoodmissions.org, Israel Houghton); Caring for Ex-Offenders and The Regeneration Trust (www.caringforexoffenders.org, Tim Hughes); Restoring the Sound (www.restoringthesound.com, Graham Kendrick); Compassion UK (www.compassionuk.org, Matt Redman); St Stephen’s (www.ststephenssociety.com, Andy Park); Links International (www.linksinternational.org.uk, Martin Smith); Living Hope Community Centre (www.livinghope.co.za, Michael W Smith); Baby Watoto (www.watoto.com, Chris Tomlin); and Hope Rwanda (www.hoperwanda.org, Darlene Zschech).
CompassionArt, a charity based in Littlehampton, England, held a songwriters’ retreat in January 2008. The 12 songwriters worked together toward a common goal to write 10-12 songs for charity, but by the end of the retreat, had completed 22 new songs. The CompassionArt songwriters began recording the songs for the CompassionArt: Creating Freedom From Poverty album in February at the famous Abbey Road Studios in London, England, with later recording sessions in Nashville, New York and Los Angeles. Joining the songwriters and guest vocalists to work on the album were such acclaimed musicians, producers and engineers as Josiah Bell, Matt Bronleewe, Danny Duncan, Sam Gibson, Andy Hunt, Ted Jensen, Lakewood Choir, Dan Needham, Paul Moak, Jack Joseph Puig, The Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, Tommy Sims, Akil Thompson and the Watoto African Children’s Choir.
Catching the vision of CompassionArt early, several music festivals this past summer, including a couple of the largest festivals, Creation and Cornerstone, ran a three-minute CompassionArt promotional video on their JumboTrons in support of this movement. To preview the video, go to: www.CompassionArt.tv or CompassionArt: Creating Freedom from Poverty EPK Link. The full 50-minute CompassionArt documentary, featured with the CompassionArt: Creating Freedom From Poverty recording, is being considered now by several networks for broadcast.
Notably, the Barnes & Noble of England, WH Smith, has chosen CompassionArt: Creating Freedom From Poverty to be a featured holiday release to promote in its 486 stores. Additionally, Covenant and Family Christian Stores have committed in advance to a full year of marketing and promotion around the album’s release, considering the recording the biggest upcoming release of 2009.
Recognized already for its charity work, CompassionArt became the recipient of the inaugural “Gospel Angel Award” presented by the Gospel Music Channel during the network's telecast of this year’s Dove Awards. With news about CompassionArt covered by the Associated Press, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Houston Chronicle, MTV.com, MSN, Canadian Press, ChristianMusicToday.com, Worship Musician, and hundreds of other publications across the U.S. and internationally, more information can be found at http://CompassionArt.tv.
CompassionArt Songwriter/Guest Vocalist Quotes:
“From beginning to end, the CompassionArt project has felt like the heart of God expressed through music, friendship, and charity. I’ve never experienced such a sense of unity as we spent the week writing songs and recording them for the benefit of others. I pray that the church will get behind this as all the royalties will go to help the poorest of the poor.” – Paul Baloche
“It is an honour for me to be involved in CompassionArt. I’ve been on the journey with Martin over the last few years having experienced first hand with Delirious the effects of extreme poverty and social injustice around the world. Writing these songs is just one way of helping to make a difference.” – Stu G (Delirious?)
“Hands down the best writing and recording experience of my life...Great interaction with the other writers and just incredible ‘God moments’ surrounding the whole process. My expectation is that those who hear it feel what we feel and help further our heart around this project.” – Israel Houghton
“There is something so special and exciting about CompassionArt. Combining great creativity with a heart and passion for the poorest of the poor and issues of justice seems to be a powerful combination. I really hope and pray this album will bless and inspire many people and will also raise money, resources and awareness to make a real impact in this world. This is God’s heart.” – Tim Hughes
“It is always such a joy to be a part of something so much bigger than yourself! I was humbled that Martin Smith gave me the opportunity to sing on this record! James 1:27 says 'religion that God accepts is caring for the widow and the orphan in there time of need.' So to me, anytime we take part in caring for the hopeless and the needy, we’re practicing being the body of Christ!” – Leeland Mooring
“I love the team dynamic of CompassionArt. The common dream we have to reach out to the world’s poor through this vision has made for lots of inspiring moments in both the songwriting stages and the studio. One of my favorite moments was gathering around the piano with Martin Smith, Israel Houghton, Tim Hughes and Paul Baloche writing the ‘King of Wonders’ song - a song which started off when Steven Curtis Chapman and I wrote together. It was a great memory - friendship, worship, music and compassion all blended into one. I hope this music is going to travel all around the world, lifting up the name of Jesus in song, and lifting up the poor in His name.” – Matt Redman
“The time spent writing and recording these songs was one of the highlights of my life, and my hope is that these songs on the CompassionArt album will help feed the poor, satisfy the needs of the oppressed and reach out to the downtrodden.” – Michael W. Smith
“When we look at the need in the world individually, it is a bit overwhelming and can cause us throw up our hands and say, ‘What could I ever do to make a difference?’ But together we are strong and can create ripples of change. That’s why I am happy to be a part of CompassionArt. I hope the music inspires and increases the vision for what can be done when we come together.” – Chris Tomlin
“My prayer to God The Father is to have a heart like His, full of love and compassion. Being a part of the CompassionArt project is a great honor because its mission is the heart of God.” – CeCe Winans
“The recording process might be over, but the real work of CompassionArt has just begun. Our heart and mission to relieve human suffering means for the rest of our lives we will live with our hearts fuelled in worship to have our lives poured out in service. I pray for continued wisdom and revelation, and for great grace and kindness, as justice makes a way for those who until now have only known grave suffering.” – Darlene Zschech
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