Music to Our Ears

Giving to those who fill our world with sound

By Sue Baldani

Music adds an extra layer of joy to the background of our lives, whether it’s while we’re driving in a car singing along to the radio, looking for that extra boost while exercising, dancing with friends at a party or club, or just hanging out at home. The lyrical sound of vocals and the rhythmic thrum of instruments enters through our ears and fills our souls. Whether soft and melodic or hardcore metal, life just would not be the same without music.

MusiCares® makes sure that the people behind this magic are able to live their best lives. “MusiCares is the leading music industry charity; helping the humans behind the music because music gives so much to the world,” says Debbie Carroll, a Nashville native and vice president, health and human services. “MusiCares was established in 1989 by the Recording Academy to provide a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need. We provide a variety of health and human services and focus our attention on the human service issues that directly impact the health and well-being of the music community.” 

Whether these needs are monetary or pertain to mental or physical health, addiction recovery, hearing loss, or other issues, MusiCares can help. As of today, it’s served over 200,000 people in the music industry who have reached out for assistance.

“As the pandemic continues to keep venues closed, cancelling music festivals including Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival and Bonnaroo, it’s clear music people need our support now more than ever,” says Debbie. “MusiCares had to quickly determine what music people needed most, which is why we established our COVID-19 relief efforts in partnership with the Recording Academy. We’re honored and humbled by the support we’ve received, allowing us to distribute more than $22 million to more than 24,000 music people across the industry since March 2020.”

The organization relies on donors to fulfill its mission, and is hosting Music on a Mission, a virtual event that will honor the immeasurable number of music industry professionals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It’ll be held on Friday, March 12, two nights prior to the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards® telecast. Tickets are available on its website and all sales will go to support MusiCares, and its COVID-19 Relief response.

“The Music on a Mission virtual event will feature never-before-seen interviews with musicians, live and virtual performances from artists like H.E.R., HAIM, John Legend and Lady Gaga, plus previously unaired performances from Person of the Year tributes to Dolly Parton, Aerosmith, and others,” she says.

If you or someone you know in the music industry is in need of financial or other types of support services, reach out to MusiCares for the help it so generously offers. Songwriters, musicians, engineers, producers, bus drivers, crew, guitar techs, label employees, make-up artists, and beyond are all eligible.

“Additionally, we have a list of COVID-19 relief online resources, which now includes a food insecurity hotline (1-800-5HUNGRY) and Find Food search with WhyHunger,” says Debbie.

A 73-year-old singer and songwriter said the following about the assistance received from MusiCares: “Such a relief. I have managed to make it through the month, [with] ‘gleaning’ and food stamps. Was about to sell a treasured guitar for far too little…So grateful. Crying with gratitude.”  Another artist wrote: “Dear MusiCares, I received an unexpected love offering this year from your grant program, and I wanted to let you know how much it meant to me. I, as a touring musician, am so happy that there are agencies out there supporting the arts in these darkest of times. Happy 2021. My soul wears a smile as wide as the Pacific Ocean.”

To find out more, volunteer, or provide financial support to this worthwhile organization, go to Help those who share their talents and make our lives more memorable and joyful, and let’s keep the music playing. After all, how quiet and less meaningful our world would be without it.

Written for Belle Meade Lifestyle magazine in Belle Meade, Tennessee.

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