The Anthem for AIDS campaign aims to set a Guinness World Record for the first charity single to achieve one million sales by download only. The funds it generates will go to UK-based Christian charity Mildmay Mission Hospital (HIV+AIDS Care) and the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation in South Africa to help transform the lives of children and adults across the world.
'Prayer' (the gospel-inspired song around which the campaign revolves) is released on eBay for Charity today, Friday 14 September. It is sung by South African James Stewart and, in a real coup, features Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who voices the lyrics to one verse.
eBay is inviting its enormous customer base (c120 million in the US and UK alone) to get in on the challenge and download the song for just £1.99. This is a ‘first’ for eBay in terms of hosting a digital download charity song and a dedicated eBay url has been created (www.ebay.co.uk/anthemforaids). For every download, participants will have the chance to win an all-expenses-paid holiday in South Africa. In addition, Mildmay has acquired a range of celebrity items and 'once in a lifetime' experiences for an online auction on eBay to raise further funds for the charity.
"This is a wonderful opportunity to put AIDS back on the main agenda," says Claire Wheatcroft, Mildmay’s head of communications. "We’re calling on Christians everywhere to download the song and therefore reach out with compassion to their global brothers and sisters living with this disease." If just one per cent of that audience downloads Prayer, the campaign will raise over two million pounds.
Inspiring… uplifting… rousing chorus… ethereal, with subtle African overtones – the ballad has a distinct gospel feel to it that the two charities hope will cut across boundaries and break a few records, all in response to the global HIV pandemic.
"Being the son of a preacher man and going to a church school brought me in constant exposure to hymns, some of which really stuck with me so I often find myself drawn into gospel chords when at the piano," says Stewart, who is doing it all for free.
James Stewart of Street Level Records will also be flying to London to perform Prayer at the 606 Club, Chelsea (Mon 17 September); at Union Chapel, Compton Terrace, Islington, London N1 (Thurs 20 September), and at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, Covent Garden (Sun 2 December) for World AIDS Day.
For FREE tickets for the Union Chapel/20 September concert, which will be supported by The Drifters and an Emmy winning gospel choir, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call Kemmy on (+44) (0)20 7613 6300 ext 6361 with your name and address. Tickets will be posted out or left on the door for you. All artists are performing for free.