John Legend and Colbie Caillat Empower Women Through Music Videos

A half made-up Colbie Caillat in her empowering "Try" video

By Emily Hollis

The music industry is heating up with some serious empowerment for women this summer, most notably with recent hits like Colbie Caillat’s “Try,” and John Legend’s “You and I (Nobody Else In The World).”

Caillat’s “Try” has racked up more than 15 million YouTube hits in just two weeks. It’s not only the lyrics that strike a chord, but also the depiction of women without makeup or filters who have not been retouched with Photoshop.

Women of all ages, backgrounds and ethnicities lip-sync to Caillat’s song, fresh-faced and exposed — bravely looking directly into a well-lit camera, beaming out to millions of viewers.

Caillat, who hasn’t been on the music scene very much these past few years, keeps to her breezy, rich roots with this new song, which will be featured on her forthcoming album, Gypsy Heart.

Legend’s video for “You and I (Nobody Else In The World)” also captures women and their loved ones during more personal moments of their daily activities, looking into the camera like it’s a mirror.

The video features Legend’s wife, model Christine Teigen, as well as Orange Is the New Black’s Laverne Cox, who recently made history as the first transgender person nominated for an Emmy.

Legend’s song has been viewed more than 11 million times and counting. Directed by Mishka Kornai, the music video was released in conjunction with an inspiring documentary called When I Look in The Mirror, which can be viewed online here.

The music video and documentary aim to raise awareness about empowering women and girls through #OperationGirl Charity, a six-week fundraiser through CrowdRise.com led by Legend, RYOT, and the Burkle Global Initiative.

“We live in a world where egregious injustices occur regularly against girls and women,” Legend said. “We have a responsibility to take action and disrupt the conditions that allow for such tragedies to occur. Through #OperationGirl we hope to amplify the voices and impact of the many organizations doing great work on behalf of girls and women.”

Caillat and Legend’s lyrics are refreshing and empowering to hear over the radio, and even more so when brought to life on screen.

Jay-Z, No Doubt, Tiesto and More to Headline Free Global Citizen Festival To End Poverty

No Doubt's Gwen Stefani

By Travis Clark

A movement is coming, and it happens to be spearheaded by some of the biggest names in music. The Global Citizen Movement presents its third annual Global Citizen Festival on September 27. The free concert will take place on the Great Lawn in New York’s Central Park and features a wide range of musical talents, with Jay-Z, Carrie Underwood, No Doubt, the Roots, Tiesto and fun. headlining the event.

The Global Citizen Movement, organized by the Global Poverty Project, aims to end extreme poverty by the year 2030. It’s a movement with more than 250,000 followers that encourages all to join the fight for human rights and end the unjust treatment of citizens around the world.

This year’s festival has a specific focus and purpose, ensuring that children across the globe have the resources they need to survive and thrive. This was also a major theme for the movement’s first Thank You Festival earlier this year, which Tiesto also headlined. No stranger to supporting positive social causes, the acclaimed DJ states, “I am very excited to perform at this year’s Global Citizen Festival and continue my support for protecting the world’s children. I’m asking my fans to join me and call on our world leaders to bring about real change that will help our children live healthy, strong lives.”

Along with this focus, the festival will also advocate for more of a commitment in the areas of vaccinations, sanitation and education from world leaders. A major campaign for the festival will be emphasizing the need for the Water for the World Act, a Congressional bill supporting the more than 1 billion children currently living without safe sanitation.

As if the major musical headliners and global causes weren’t enough to get people interested, this will also mark the first time the festival will be televised and streamed online. MSNBC and NBC News have partnered with the Global Citizen movement, and along with airing the festival live on MSNBC and msnbc.com, NBC will also air a one-hour special about the event at 9 pm the night of the concert.

Tickets are now available for the festival. The tickets are free, with Global Citizen asking only that people participate in online actions that can be found at the festival’s website in order to receive tickets. By signing petitions and emailing world leaders, fans not only get access to the festival but also become active members in the campaign to end poverty and promote change.

To join the Global Citizen Movement, click here.

Macklemore Advocates for Historic Seattle River Cleanup

A billboard featuring Macklemore raises awareness

By Travis Clark

Grammy-winning hip-hop artist Macklemore may be one of the biggest rappers in the world right now, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t take time out of his busy schedule to keep up with his hometown, Seattle.

Recently a campaign was launched to raise awareness and help clean up Seattle’s Duwamish River. The campaign, called River For All, is a community effort that includes workers, tribes, families, fishermen and anyone who is concerned with the care of the river. With Macklemore’s advocacy, awareness has grown substantially in a very short time.

The Duwamish River is one of the most toxic waste sites in the nation, due primarily to years of industrial pollution, but has historical significance to fishermen whose tribes have treaty rights to the river’s natural resources. As the river provides many Seattleites with income and food, the campaign is calling for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help clean up the river, therefore ensuring good health for those who rely on the river’s resources.

The EPA currently has a plan for cleaning up the river, but one that remains uncertain. It’s called natural recovery, which instead of removing pollution, monitors the river bottom to see if newer cleaner deposits bury the contaminated mud over time.

James Rasmussen, coordinator for the River Cleanup Coalition, thinks more should be done. “These communities need our full protection, and that means removing more of the toxic waste,” he says.

The group will continue to rally for the EPA’s involvement and a more certain, steadfast recovery effort. In the meantime, a billboard featuring Macklemore on Highway 99 South approaching the river continues to raise awareness.

“We are Seattle. No bridge, boundaries, or invisible, man-made lines divide us,” says Macklemore. “This our home, our people and our community. This is our city’s only river.”

To learn more about the clean-up coalition and its efforts, click here.

Campus DJ Champions Bentley Montes & Yung Elvis Spin for a Great Cause

By Laura Ferreiro

Campus DJ champions Bentley Montes & Yung Elvis

The bass is pumping, the lights are pulsing, the dance floor is hopping – what more could you ask for? How about knowing that it’s more than just an incredible DJ dance party – it’s also about naming the top college DJs in the country while supporting a great cause.

Campus DJ’s second annual College DJ Championships took place on June 18 at the Avalon Hollywood, where 12 regional finalists from across the country battled it out to be named the best college DJ in the U.S.

After a sweaty night of spinning tunes for a packed house, a panel of renowned judges including Lupe Fiasco, MAKJ, Jayceeoh, and last year’s Campus DJ champion, Flaxo, crowned a new champion: DJ duo Bentley Montes & Yung Elvis from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

“I saw a lot of DJs tonight really stick to what they love, and that’s all I can say for us,” said Montes.

“Everything we do we put our hard work, sweat, tears and blood into this,” added Yung Elvis.

Not only did Bentley Montes & Yung Elvis bring the crowd to a fever pitch with their blistering tunes, but they were also spinning for a great cause. Music for Good partnered with Campus DJ and Chegg on Spinning for a Cause, in which Chegg presented a generous cash donation to the charity of the winning DJs’ choice.

Montes and Yung Elvis chose to donate to the pediatric skin cancer department at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA – a cause that’s extremely important to them. “We wanted to contribute to this cause as it is the closest thing to our hearts,” said Montes. “A few months ago our good friend Lizzie lost a friend to skin cancer. She, along with our organization the EDMC (EDM Club) of UCLA, began a fundraiser to contribute to the research of pediatric skin cancer at Mattel Children’s hospital. The show, we called Message in a Melody, featured Kastle as a headliner, and raised nearly $5,000.”

Montes and Yung Elvis were thrilled to be able to give an additional donation to the Mattel Children’s Hospital through Spinning for a Cause.

Montes and Yung Elvis were up against some stiff competition, including DJ Lick (Colgate U), DJ Munition (ASU), Halogen (Georgia State U), Atomika (NC State), Vonzie (NYU), DJ Adam Treblig (SFSU), Moneta (UT Austin), Jeff Molner (FIU – Miami), Norvege (Columbia College), DJ +One (Michigan State), and Sokko & Lyons (U of Oregon).

After a heated contest, they won a $10,000 grand prize from Monster Energy and Campus DJ, free burritos for a year from Chipotle, and a prize package from lifestyle audio company SOL REPUBLIC.

The night also featured special guest sets from LA favorites gLAdiator, world-renowned turntablist Jayceeoh, and Goshfather & Jinco.

Check out some of the highlights of the night below.

Stay tuned for updates about the next Campus DJ and Spinning for a Cause competition!

Rock the Vote Shakes Things Up With Relaunch

Christina Aguilera supports Rock the Vote

By Travis Clark

Just because the midterm elections aren’t until November, it doesn’t mean we can’t get excited for the relaunch of Rock the Vote, the largest non-profit and non-partisan organization in the U.S. that works to drive the young people to the polls.

Rock the Vote was founded in 1990 and has since strived to create a balanced electoral process and encourage young people to cast their votes. One could say it’s the “voice of a generation,” getting young voters to the polls and fighting for voting rights in creative and forward-thinking ways.

The organization has teamed up with several notable musical artists to mobilize a new generation of voters. Among its over 200 celebrity supporters are Pink, J. Cole, the Black Keys, My Chemical Romance, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Christina Aguilera, Fall Out Boy, Wiz Khalifa and many, many more artists that cover a wide range of musical genres.

With the midterm elections on the horizon, Rock the Vote has rolled out new leadership with the hope of launching the movement even further into the digital age. In an interview with Rolling Stone, RTV president Ashley Spillane said, “Rock The Vote was the first organization to fight to give young people a voice in the political process. By consistently seeking out novel ways to reach new voters, we have run the largest voter registration drives for young people on record during the past six presidential elections.”

Rock the Vote plans reach potential voters at events across the country on National Voter Registration Day on September 23, and Trick or Vote on October 31. The group intends to register 1.5 million new voters in the coming months leading up to November.

To register to vote with RTV, click here.

Keith Richards Joins Artists from Around the World to Play for Change

By Emily Hollis

It started with unknown musician, Roger Ridley, busking on a Santa Monica street side, soulfully singing “Stand By Me.”

Now, big-name musicians including the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards and Sara Bareilles have teamed up with musicians from all over the world for Playing for Change, which was created to inspire, connect and bring peace to the world through music.

Playing for Change is hosting extensive tour stops across the U.S. through July, and has released its third album, Playing for Change 3: Songs Around the World, featuring artists from 31 different countries.

Richards’ tune “Words of Wonder/Get up Stand up,” which is featured on the album, has already has racked up more than 290,000 hits on YouTube. He sings with an array of soulful, eclectic artists such as Titi Tsira of South Africa, Washboard Chaz of New Orleans, Brazil’s Johnny Herno, and the Guardians of the New Fire from Mexico.

In the video, the musicians appear wearing headsets as they groove to the music, each in their own country’s setting. Singing for peace. Playing for change.

In an interview with Billboard, Playing for Change co-founder Mark Johnson said when they traveled to the Caribbean to record and film Richards, there was not a cloud in the sky for days.

“On the day of the recording, a storm came from out of nowhere, and it rained like crazy all day until right before sunset,” Johnson said. “When Keith appeared by the beach, the clouds literally parted from the sky; a fire pit started to burn and we where ready to record the legend.”

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Listen: Luxxury Cover Duran Duran’s ‘Planet Earth’ on Tribute Album Benefiting Amnesty International

Duran Duran

By Laura Ferreiro

In the 1980s, Duran Duran was one of the biggest bands on the planet, topping charts around the world, changing the face of MTV with their highly stylized videos; their posters adorning the bedroom walls of countless teenage girls.

Truth is, they were often dismissed by critics as pretty boys with angular haircuts, and weren’t given enough credit for their formidable songwriting abilities and serious musicianship – Simon Le Bon’s distinctive voice and poetic lyrics, Nick Rhodes’ experimental keyboard flourishes, John Taylor’s groovy bass lines that combined elements of punk-rock and funk, Andy Taylor’s screeching yet controlled guitars, and Roger Taylor’s drumming – the glue that held the band together.

Luxxury

Now, Duran Duran is getting some much-deserved respect, with several artists including Warpaint, Moby, Little Dragon and Luxxury paying tribute to the British hitmakers on Making Patterns Rhyme: A Tribute to Duran Duran, curated and produced by Manimal Vinyl. What’s more, sales proceeds from the album will benefit Amnesty International, the renowned non-profit organization that works to advance human rights around the world.

Check out the world premiere of Los Angeles band Luxxury’s take on the classic track “Planet Earth” – the song that inspired the album’s title, Making Patterns Rhyme.

“Duran Duran was a massive influence on me because they were the perfect band: basslines from Chic, arpeggiated synths borrowed from Moroder and an overall artfulness borrowed from Japan’s playbook, but with massive populist choruses instead of dreary tunes about Ghosts and China,” Luxxury frontman Blake Robin (a.k.a Baron von Luxxury) tells Music for Good.

“‘Planet Earth’ seemed the least daunting way into trying to live up to their legacy, if only because it’s one of my favorite songs of theirs,” he explains. “But as soon as we started to work on it, I realized the impossibleness of the task. How does one ‘better’ a Duran song as perfect as this? So rather than re-invent the wheel, we re-imagined it as a time machine baby, mixing ’70s Rhodes, acoustic guitars and California vibes with modern sounding samples and vocoders. I decided to sing it as a duet with my friend Ashley [Huizenga] because it felt a bit karaoke of me to try and be Simon by myself!”

Other artists who contributed to Making Patterns Rhyme include Little Dragon, who took on “Save a Prayer,” Soko (“Girls on Film”) and Warpaint (“The Chauffeur”). The full album is due out in late July.

“We wanted to show the kids that Duran Duran are fucking cool,” says Manimal founder Paul Beahan. “They’re just as important as Wire or Gang of Four, and more important because they have longevity.”

Beahan added that Duran Duran had several different charities in mind that they wanted to support with this compilation, but the one they could all agree upon was Amnesty International because of its incredibly important human rights work.

Listen to Warpaint’s eerie cover of “The Chauffeur” here, and Moby’s dusky cover of “Rio” here.

Check out the original version of Duran Duran’s “Planet Earth”.

Switchfoot Bro-Am: A Decade of Standing Up for Kids

Switchfoot perform at their annual Bro-Am benefit concert & surfing event

By Travis Clark

This year marks the 10th Anniversary of Switchfoot’s annual Bro-Am, a free concert and surfing event at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, California. Switchfoot, an alternative rock band and surfing enthusiasts from San Diego, founded the event to raise money for various local organizations whose goal is to help homeless and troubled youth.

The charity event, presented by sponsor Hurley, kicks off July 11 with an Auction Night Soiree, featuring a performance from Switchfoot, silent and live auctions, tastings from local restaurants, and much more.

Switchfoot

It’s on July 12 that the festivities really begin, ones that make this the band’s most anticipated day of the year since the event started in 2005. The surf contest runs from 7:00am – 3:30pm, and the concert rocks from 12:00pm – 5:00pm. The line-up will be announced soon.

So what exactly keeps the band coming back year after year? In an interview with Music for Good, drummer Chad Butler explained that as much fun as they may have, it’s always been about and for the kids. “It’s a great thing to see people coming together and raising finances for them – letting them know that they matter and their story matters.”

Not only is the event for the kids, but it gets them involved as well. Kids will have the chance to compete in the 3rd Annual Rob Machado Bro Junior surf contest, named after renowned pro surfer, Rob Machado. The kids will get the chance to compete on Rob Machado surf boards, and can enter for free if they bring clothes to donate, rather than giving monetary donations.

The Bro-Am is committed to environmental efforts as well, avoiding avoid CO2 emissions by using solar power to rock the day (and pollution) away.

And if you can’t catch the action in person? The Bro-Am will strive to perfect last year’s live web cast so supporters from anywhere can join in on the fun. What’s not to like?

Click here for further information about the 10th Annual Switchfoot Bro-Am.

 

Campus DJ Finalists to Spin for a Cause at National Finale

Goshfather and Jinco perform at the Campus DJ regional competition in New York City

By Laura Ferreiro

It’s impossible to tell which side of the decks is more fun at the national Campus DJ competitions. Taking place at college campuses across the U.S., several regional contests showcased aspiring college DJs who spun their hearts out for enthusiastic crowds to take home the title of regional champion in cities from New York to California.

Now, 12 regional Campus DJ finalists will battle it out for the title of best college DJ in the nation at the second annual Campus DJ National Championships.

The final competition will take place Wednesday, June 18 at the Avalon in Hollywood, and will feature an array of special guests, as well as headliner Action Bronson. What’s more, the DJ finalists will be Spinning for a Cause, presented by Chegg and Music for Good. The winning DJ will have the opportunity to select the non-profit organization of his or her choice to receive a generous cash donation, sponsored by Chegg, and they’ll be supporting a great cause in the process.

This year’s competing finalists include: Bentley Montes & Yung Elvis (UCLA), DJ Lick (Colgate U), DJ Munition (ASU), Halogen (Georgia State U), Atomika (NC State), Vonzie (NYU), DJ Adam Treblig (SFSU), Moneta (UT Austin), Jeff Molner (FIU – Miami), Norvege (Columbia College), DJ +One (Michigan State), Sokko & Lyons (U of Oregon).

What’s more, the Campus DJ National Champion will win a $10,000 grand prize from

DJs compete for a packed house at the 2013 Campus DJ finals

Monster Energy and Campus DJ, free burritos for a year from Chipotle, and a prize package from lifestyle audio company Sol Republic.

Celebrity judges and presenters for this year’s finale include: Grammy-winning artist Lupe Fiasco, who is also a member of DJ duo The SNDCLSH, globally recognized EDM star MAKJ, world-renowned turn-tablist and producer Jayceeoh, and the 2013 Campus DJ National Champion from Columbia University, Flaxo. Special guest performers will be appearing throughout the night, along with a full headlining set by renowned New York rapper Action Bronson.

“Campus DJ has connected me to other passionate DJs and musicians who I keep in touch with, it’s opened doors I never imagined even existed, and it’s been a humbling chance to have validation in one of the most competitive and frenetic industries in entertainment,” said last year’s Campus DJ winner, Flaxo, who selected renowned non-profit 826 National to receive the Spinning for a Cause donation supporting their work giving students the opportunity to improve their writing skills and offering free after-school tutoring. “I actually couldn’t have imagined all the great opportunities that have come out of it,” he added.

Get your tickets here and come out to support the next national Campus DJ champion!

Members of Blink 182, Incubus, Pharrell Williams and Hans Zimmer Team Up on Song to End Child Labor

Incubus' Mike Einziger and composer Hans Zimmer team up on song to end child labor

By Laura Ferreiro

Mike Einziger of Incubus, Travis Barker of Blink 182, Pharrell Williams and renowned composer Hans Zimmer may seem like an unlikely group of musicians to work together, but they’ve teamed up to record a song to bring attention to the plight of child laborers, and to put an end to it.

The formidable crew joined child trafficking survivor Minh Dang to record the song, “Til Everyone Can See.” The idea for the song came after they met with the International Labour Organization (ILO), an arm of the United Nations that promotes workers’ rights and calls on governments to institute laws preventing children from being exploited and entering into the labor force.

They released the song and its accompanying video on June 12 to commemorate World Day Against Child Labor. “Open up your eyes/listen to the cries/it’s time to right wrong,” says the song, which was co-written by Einziger and violinist Ann Marie Simpson, and has a distinct “We Are The World” vibe to it.

“There are 168 million children between the ages of five and 18 years in child labor around the world, doing work they are too young to perform,” Einziger says. “Many are denied the opportunity to go to school. Eighty five million of them are doing work that puts their health or safety, sometimes even their lives, in danger. They’re victims of exploitation in the drugs or sex trade, are recruited as soldiers or made to beg, to work in mines and sweatshops or as domestic workers. This is unacceptable.”

Other musicians around the world are also pitching in to raise awareness of the plight of child workers through the Global Music against Child Labour Initiative, with orchestras and musicians of all genres dedicating concerts to the struggle against child labor.

To learn more about the campaign to end child labor, click here.