Written by Ryan Jebavy • Photography by Colleen Callahan, Live Nation • December 28, 2016
Music is a powerful force in the world. It has the ability to bring joy, lift spirits, heal wounds, instantaneously conjure memories and—perhaps most significantly—improve lives. The latter is especially true when artists collaborate to heighten awareness for important causes, inspiring dance, debate and, ultimately, positive change.
Over the years, concerts have been held for the benefit of many causes, including world hunger (USA for Africa's "We Are the World" in 1985, for example), refugee crises (1971’s Concert for Bangladesh set the standard), racial divides (Wattstax in 1972, on Isaac Hayes’ birthday and seven years after the Watts riots) and unthinkable tragedy (America: A Tribute to Heroes, following September 11, 2001 attacks). These striking musical events each revealed the tremendous power of music to bring people together.
One of our most pressing issues is, of course, the environment, and many artists have taken up this urgent cause. In 1995, Michael Jackson released “Earth Song” as an anthem for environmental awareness, and since then, high-profile performers including R.E.M., Radiohead, Coldplay, Moby, Melissa Etheridge and U2 have all taken part in green efforts. In one recent example, Justin Timberlake bought an entire golf course and made massive renovations to make it eco-friendly.
What are other musicians doing today in order to promote a clean, sustainable environment?
Just last September, six bright young stars were brought together for the Shell #makethefuture campaign. The goal was to deliver an inventive and informative musical collaboration to inspire energy innovation. The result was an exciting music video set to a new recording of American Authors’ “Best Day of My Life.” In the video, the artists—including Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson, Nigerian performer Yemi Alade, Brazilian composer Luan Santana, American DJ/producer Steve Aoki, British singer Pixie Lott and Chinese pop idol Tan Weiwei—perform among animated demonstrations of seven bright new energy innovations boosted by Shell's Springboard program. There’s even an interactive, re-mixable version of the video that can try it out for yourself here.
"Best Day of My Life"—part of Shell's current #makethefuture quest to seek out innovators who will bring forth tomorrow's cleaner energy solutions—is another shining example of how artists can inspire us to be a part of real change. You can show your support for the Shell #makethefuture initiative here.
Sources: "25 Green Musicians and Bands." N.a., 13 Dec. 2012. Web. 5 Dec. 2016 http://www.thedeadtrees.com/25-green-musicians-and-bands/. Benjamin, Jeff. "12 Ultra-Green Musicians & the Causes They Support." Fuse, 22 Apr. 2016. Web. 5 Dec. 2016. http://www.fuse.tv/2013/04/earth-day-green-musicians. Ramirez, Vicky. "10 Music Collaborations that Changed the World." One, 16 Apr. 2014. Web. 5 Dec. 2016 https://www.one.org/us/2014/04/16/10-music-collaborations-that-changed-the-world/.