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SONG OF SURVIVAL: SINEAD O’CONNOR AND MARY J. BLIGE RECORD TO BRING AWARENESS TO SEX TRAFFICKING OF AMERICAN GIRLS
Renowned recording artists SINEAD O’CONNOR and MARY J. BLIGE have joined forces for a remake of O’Connor’s 1996 song, ‘This is To Mother You’ as a part of the Girls Are Not For Sale campaign to bring awareness to the issues of child sex trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of American girls. The song’s proceeds will benefit GEMS: Girls Educational and Mentoring Services, the nation's largest non-profit organization designed to empower American girls and young women, ages 12-21, who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking.
‘This Is to Mother You’ is produced by MARTIN ‘DOC’ MCKINNEY (Sting, Alice Smith, Esthero) and ALI SHAHEED MUHAMMAD (A Tribe Called Quest, Lucy Pearl), executive produced by RACHEL LLOYD (GEMS) and BRIDGIT ANTOINETTE EVANS (Fuel) with supervising producer PAUL HECK (Red Hot), mixed by Grammy nominee JOE ZOOK (Pink, OneRepublic, Timbaland), engineered by TIM MARTIN (Dublin) and CHRISTIAN PARKER (New York), with vocal production by FOC187 (Dublin), Sinead O’Connor (Dublin) and Mary J Blige (New York).
“I am moved by the really important work that GEMS is doing,” says O’Connor, who has consistently used her voice to advocate against injustices impacting children. “I was delighted to contribute my song to the campaign if it can help and inspire women and children to feel safe.” O’Connor recorded at Dublin’s legendary Windmill Lane Studios (also dubbed ‘the U2 Studio’) this summer.
Mary J. Blige, who was invited to participate by O’Connor, recorded at Germano Studios in New York City alongside newcomer and GEMS member MARTHA B. “When I read the lyrics to ‘This is to Mother You’ I really fell in love with the song,” says Blige, who like most Americans was unaware of the prevalence of child sex trafficking stateside until her introduction to GEMS. “It describes how I feel about my work and how so many fans view me – as a mentor and a mother figure. It has always been my dream to be able to encourage women and let them know that if I can make it, they can make it too despite any physical and emotional abuses they may endure.”
“I’m honored that Sinead donated the song for our campaign,” adds Rachel Lloyd, Founder and Executive Director of GEMS and one of Ms. Magazine’s ’50 Women Who Change the World’. “To have artists of her and Mary’s caliber taking a stand and joining our campaign to promote girls empowerment and education as critical tools in the fight against child traffickers is incredible. It is even more special to have Martha, a GEMS member who I have known since she was 14, realize her dream and be included on this song.”
“This song is so true to GEMS and how it is impacted my life,” says Martha, now 21. “GEMS and Rachel have truly been a mother to me.” Martha is also featured in the critically acclaimed Showtime documentary, 'Very Young Girls' that follows thirteen and fourteen year old American girls served by GEMS as they struggle to overcome the trauma experienced at the hands of traffickers and pimps on the streets of New York. The film is currently available online and on DVD at Netflix.com.
“There’s so much in this song that speaks to the way we feel about the young women and girls we serve at GEMS especially in terms of being protective and maternal towards them,” says Lloyd, a survivor of commercial sexual exploitation as a teen in Europe. “It is also speaks to the way we feel they should be treated by society in general. They should be protected and not sold.”
“This Is to Mother You” will be available for purchase online at major retailers and at http://gems-girls.org in December 2009.