Trio of Performing Artists Follow Lead of America's Greats -
Raise Funds For Missing College Student, Lauren Spierer
Lauren Spierer, Indiana U student from NY missing by Courtesy Photo
Beginning in the 1960s and continuing over the next five decades, pop culture songs have addressed a variety of society's ills while simultaneously calling for solutions and action. From peace to social justice, urban woes, and the very future of humankind, songs with a social message encompass virtually every genre of music from hip hop to folk. While addressing themes of war and peace such as "Imagine" and "Give Peace a Chance" by John Lennon and "WAR" by Bruce Springsteen, to inner city violence in "Ghetto Gospel" by Tupac Shakur with Elton John, to cries for resistance in "Wake Up" by Rage Against the Machine and "Uprising" by Muse, musicians penetrate deeply into one's emotions in ways no newspaper's best journalist can ever hope to touch.
Certain top musical artists, however, take messages of social consciousness and go a step further. Raising not only awareness, but also funds for causes close to their hearts, dozens of the UK's and United States' greatest musicians have sung for humanity's suppers. Just to name a few, in 1984, Band Aid, led by Bob Geldof in the UK, produced "Do they Know It's Christmas?" to benefit Ethiopian famine victims. The next year, USA for Africa, following Britain's lead, produced "We Are the World," led by Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, and Quincy Jones. A more recent effort in 2010 featured a remake of the song, with "We Are the World 25 For Haiti,"a charity single by Artists for Haiti.
Fast forward to a true crisis in 2011, with news stories about missing persons in the US frequently making national headlines that sometimes create even international media sensations. Approximately 900,000 people are reported missing each year in the US alone, and stories of missing young people from infants to college students are devoured by media hungry for compelling, heart-wrenching, human interest stories featuring mystery, drama, and endless tears.
This fall, in an unusual turn of events, one missing person in particular, Lauren Spierer, caught the attention of several musical artists. Originally from Westchester County, New York and currently missing from the college town of Bloomington, Indiana, the 20 year old petite, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Indiana University sophomore seems to have vanished into thin air. In the early morning hours of June 3, after spending time partying with friends and acquaintances, Lauren was suddenly nowhere to be found. Many of the students who knew her swiftly hired attorneys who overwhelmingly silenced their clients. The IU student who reported seeing Spierer last that morning hired a high profile defense attorney [reportedly Indiana's best] who had defended Mike Tyson in his rape trial.
With law enforcement and Lauren's parents suspecting foul play, both have issued unheeded requests for the person(s) who know what happened to come forth. Yet nearly six months after her disappearance, it is apparent that more must be done to uncover the truth. Thus, in an effort to help raise monies for awareness events and continued search efforts for the missing New Yorker, three separate groups of musicians have recently written and recorded original songs in honor of the IU student. In a truly mind-blowing gesture of generosity, all three are dedicating 100 percent of the purchase price of their singles, with proceeds to benefit the search for Lauren Spierer.
Having one's child or sister or best friend disappear seemingly off the face of the planet has got to be the worst feeling in the world. I'm hoping you will join me in spending just 99 cents per song to buy three (3) iTune songs and ask everyone you know to do the same. In the search for Lauren, every dollar adds up. Together, we have the power to help bring Lauren Spierer home to her family and dear friends who miss her terribly. If you would like to learn more about the search for Lauren or make even a small contribution visit: www.findlauren.com .
Please read a bit about these big-hearted musical artists and what motivated them to write and produce songs to benefit further efforts to bring Lauren Spierer home.
"#Lauren" by Illuminati Sky
A rock-hip-hop duo that calls itself Illuminati Sky has recently put out a catchy tune that reminds one of Eminem - that is, a cleaned up version you wouldn't be afraid to let Great Grandma hear. "# Lauren" was written by front man, Michael Barber, from Evansville, Indiana and Josh Tifer of Delaware. Barber, a hip-hop artist flying solo prior to meeting Tifer, shares an ocean front music studio with his band mate in Florida. When asked if he and his musical partner were both into hip-hop, Barber quite modestly remarked, "Josh? I really doubt he would consider himself a hip-hop artist, but he is the talent in the music. He is the all-around musician."
Originally planning on releasing the song anonymously or with an alias in order not to bring attention to himself, Barber realized he could earn greater awareness and funding from their fan base if he produced "#Lauren" using Illuminati Sky's real identity. And this effort was vitally important to this former Hoosier, as he could, in part, relate to the nightmare that has plagued the Spierers since June 3. Michael Barber's own petite, 90 pound sister had attended IU a few years back and, as he explained, "It really hit home, being my home state, home school I cheer for in sports, thinking of my sister. And it wasn't until I saw her mother and father [Charlene and Rob Spierer] on TV begging for answers that I knew I had to write a song."
When asked if this was the first time Illuminati Sky had composed a song for a cause, Barber answered affirmatively. "Yes, it is the first song of many to come. As musicians, it is our goal to attack issues and stand up in what we believe in... In the 60s and 70s musicians stood for something, they had power. Now they just want to fit in, make pop tunes."
Quite far from a wimpy pop tune, what makes this song so compelling is its message of personal responsibility. Along with possessing a social conscience, "#Lauren" takes an uncompromising, bold stance on the cowardice and selfishness of Bloomington's "persons of interest," approximately ten friends/acquaintances of the missing Spierer. With undisguised disdain for those who remain silent while knowing what happened to the diminutive Lauren, llluminati Sky makes no apology for its stance on what they consider lackluster efforts on the part of local law enforcement. Also not escaping criticism is Dancing With the Stars contestant, Nancy Grace, and other network media personalities who seem to be more concerned with the almighty dollar than using their platform to help find missing persons, Spierer in particular.
All proceeds from the purchase of "#Lauren" will be given to the Spierer family directly, to be used for their continued search efforts.
Illuminati Sky's impressive "# Lauren" can be purchased for just $.99 at
"One Little Miracle" by Brice Fox and Daniel Weber
Former students in Bloomington, Brice Fox and Daniel Weber were already famous for producing the campus sensation centered around Hoosier basketball in their You Tube video,"This Is Indiana." Then, this past September, the IU alumni produced a Public Service Announcement on You Tube asking IU students to come forward with any news of Spierer's disappearance. (1) The PSA was considered a prelude to their recently released tribute to the missing woman, "One Little Miracle." Dedicated to Lauren, the idea for the heartfelt pop ballad came from Charlene Spierer, mother of Lauren, in an email she had written to the two musicians. According to WTHR in Indianapolis, "She said something like we are just looking for one clue. One little miracle. That jumped out to us. We knew we wanted to use it for a song," said Daniel Weber. (2)
Both "This Is Indiana" and "One Little Miracle" were performed by Fox and Weber at the Shine for Lauren concert held on the IU campus on September 22. "We wanted to strike an emotional chord with people and hope that the right people start to come forward," Daniel Weber explained. (3)
"I'm hoping it reaches out to one person who can make a difference in the story," said Weber, the musician who wrote the music for the ballad. "I'm hoping it reaches the right person to say the right thing." (4) Daniel Weber composed the music and sent it to his writing partner Brice Fox, who then wrote the lyrics. "I just wrote off of what Charlene Spierer had sent me in an email," Fox said. "I could sense the pain and, agony that she and her husband have been going through and I basically just put it into a song." (5)
"One Little Miracle" is a touching, heart-warming tune available for purchase at iTunes for $.99. All proceeds from the project will be donated to the 'Help Find Lauren Fund':
"New Hope" by Steve Carr
In "New Hope," solo artist, Steve Carr, from Plainfield, Illinois, sings, "Life can change in the blink of an eye. These are the times when we stand tall. Keep moving forward, never stop searching. New hope will find a way." When asked what gave him the idea to write a song in honor of Lauren Spierer, Steve explained that he had seen his friend, graphic designer Tracey Williams, pursue a dedicated search for Spierer from the very first day the IU college student went missing. Carr recalled that Tracey "had brought to my attention that there were two songs out there raising money for Lauren. Music is a really big part of my life and creating a positive song dedicated to Lauren to raise money for the foundation is the perfect way for me to help. So right away I jumped at the idea and started writing."
Incredibly multi-talented, Steve Carr wrote both the lyrics and music for his acoustic rock song, played all instrumentals (guitars, bass, drums and vocal) and has produced all of his own music for the past year. Carr explains that "New Hope" is about hope and all the people supporting the Spierers in their search for Lauren. "It's so great to see so many people out there helping the [Spierer] family through these hard times. Hope will get you through any situation. There are so many caring people out there going above and beyond for the Spierer family. That is what hope is all about... the best way to help you deal through tough times."
Carr takes a stance in music that is refreshing in the commercial music biz. As he explains, "Music has always been considered a universal language and I feel it is a very important part in society. It's always great to see musicians willing to produce music for good causes. So many people connect through music... and to have someone dedicate a piece of music to help one another through hard times or just to bring a positive message is wonderful. Music can be a very powerful tool to take a person's mind off a tough situation, stress, etc." After thinking a moment, Carr admitted, "Writing this song has been so rewarding to me. Being able to help out a family in need doing what I love? There is no greater feeling."
To follow Carr's lead and experience your own good feeling, help fund efforts to bring missing college student, Lauren Spierer, home to her family by purchasing "New Hope" by Steve Carr at itunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/steve-carr/id476422317 .
(1) PSA Announcement - Fox and Weber http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnjHfy0Y3Dc&feature=related
(2) WTHR -
(6) To follow Illuminati Sky on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Illuminati-Sky/212356618828820
(7) To watch "New Hope" on video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Why85m2vlME&feature=share&fb_source=message
(7) To follow Steve Carr: http://www.reverbnation.com/stevecarr
More on Lauren Spierer: www.findlauren.com