Apr 24, 2019
We burned you a mixtape
Photo: James Numbere
We thought you might need some jams while you hang decorations on event day. Last minute searching for a cocktail hour playlist? We’ve got you. Seeking inspiration while you solicit donations? Make it a procurement party! And for the time of the night when the DJ signs off, but people are still partying? Send guests on their way. Last, but certainly not least, the ‘Ladies Luncheon’ playlist will certainly put some pep in the step of ladies who lunch.
It’s no revelation that music impacts our emotions and behavior. While building these playlists we started thinking more about the importance of music setting the mood for an event, sustaining the party, and spreading awareness about an issue or a mission to initiate change.
Charity songs massively kicked off with, “We Are the World” and “That’s What Friends Are For,” which raised money for the famine in Africa and AIDS respectively. Music is consistently a strong medium for artists to express passion and contribute to a cause. Not all supporters can donate thousands of dollars, but they can give their time or talent in various ways.
While mega-hit singles are few and far between, it did make us think, “are nonprofits utilizing donors to their full potential?” James Numbere, a London-based singer-songwriter, wrote his single “Smile” after participating in The Better World Walk across the Erin Ijesha waterfalls in Nigeria, an initiative to raise money for Operation Smile. He was moved to write a song about finding comfort and confidence in oneself.
“We live in a world that places a premium on physical appearance and it makes us vain at times, but then you learn about people who are ostracized and prone to disease because of [their cleft lip and palate condition] and then suddenly you see things with a new perspective. I’ve learned to appreciate my body more since I started working with Operation Smile.”
Numbere approached the London chapter of Operation Smile and offered them the rights to his song to use whenever they’d like to raise awareness for their work in healing cleft lips and palates.
“With so much negativity in the world, we need more positivity and I try to express that with my music. I feel most satisfied when people’s spirits have been lifted after listening to my music or watching me perform. Someone even told me, ‘I believe your superpower is making people smile James, you don’t need to be in politics to cause change because you’re already doing that with your music’. Operation Smile does the same by performing these procedures on people so they can smile. I think we are kindred spirits.”