Behind every project that is embraced by any community, there is a story. It usually starts with a personal spark from one individual who is moved and motivated by something immediate to do something unusual and extraordinary. That person finds themselves on a journey, gathering or attracting people with similar midsets to compliment and enhance the vision. This is our story, the story of “care if you share” – thew story of how George and Sofia became ‘The L Project’.
How did this all happen?
Ever start out with an idea one day, only to feel like you woke up the next with a massive project on your hands? For most people that idea is something like cleaning out the garage. Lets run with that analogy. Imagine you woke up one day, and saw how untidy your neighbours garage was. You decide to do something nice for your neighbour because he lacks the strength to do it on his own. You make a start. When you open the door you realise it would be easier with a couple extra hands. Some people offer to help. Everyone that passes by then starts to get involved, because what you’re doing is such a lovely, sweet, selfless thing, and everyone wants to be a part of it. As you’re tidying, you think, “there’s probably more people need help tidying their garages, we could do this for the world! if only we could enthuse people to look at their neighbours garages and see if they need help with them…”Okay, that’s as far as I want to go with that. You get the idea.Here’s what actually happenned:
One day Georgey Payne was chatting with a young friend of hers who confided in her that he was being bullied at school for being gay. Being bullied for any reason is awful, but for someone so young to be bullied for something they themselves have not yet come to terms with, can be hugely detrimental. Georgey was all too aware of the high suicide rate in young gay teens because the media had started to shine a big light on it. Georgey is a songwriter, and like any other, the best way she can express herself is through a combination of music, melody and words. She wanted to cheer her friend up, and let him know that he was not alone. So she penned him a song. It was quite obvious to her (and everyone who has ever heard the song), that the message of hope she had written was one that so many more individuals could benefit from.
Enter a bright spark in Georgey’s mind, in a feed-the-world kind of manner. What if? She decided to put some feelers out. The idea being to record the song and put it out with all the proceeds for charity. With this in mind she contacted a number of singers she’d met on the gigging circuit in the UK, voices she’d heard and loved, people she thought would be interested in giving up their time for this project, and people she knew would trust that she could do this right. The key word here is trust. Many people have asked why all the singers on this track and gay and female. The answer is simple, these are the artists that all knew and trusted Georgey. They knew she would not be wasting their time, and that her intentions were more than good and ethical. No-one was going to make money out of this endeavour other than the charities, not on Georgey’s watch. Once the singers and musicians had listened to a rough version of the track, and said “yes” to becoming the recording artists, the next stage was to get it recorded. But somewhere in between one of the singers, Sofia Antonia Milone, offered her skills as a designer to the project. In order to record the song, despite being offered a hefty discount from the studio, Georgey still needed to raise money. There was not only the studio to pay for, but accommodation and travel to provide for the contributors. To do that Georgey had to appeal to local and national businesses asking for money. Some of them she knew, and they (just like the artists) trusted her enough to sponsor the recording of the song; but to win the faith of bigger companies, the song needed a professional online presence, to show it meant business. And Sofia set about immediately providing that.
The online phenomenon
Once there was a website, and a logo, and other things in place, there came the time to push the project pre-release on the facebook page. Since this track was always intended to be download only, in order to forego the costs of physical pressing of CDs, it made sense for the root of the entire campaign to be on facebook. Within a few weeks the likes were in the thousands, without even having heard the song. Sofia and Georgey aimed to have 3,000 likes pre-release. And on the day of release in February they had managed well over 10,000. The likes continue to grow daily, but what the co-ordinators could not have foreseen was the way the online community not only got behind the song, and the project, but had started to use their page to share stories, and be a support to anyone who joined. This is when ‘share if you care’ began, and it dawned on Georgey and Sofia that this was just going to be the first of many, many projects.The single reached number 11 in the UK indie charts in the first week of release, and was top of both iTunes and Amazon in various download charts. Not only this, but they won a special award in March 2012 for “Outstanding contribution to the LGBT community” from the Midlands Zone Readers Awards. Now that the project has a much higher profile, and some even global recognition, they know that finding people to trust them with the next project is not going to be hard. Empowering people to educate themselves and others is what this project has become. If you want to know more about upcoming events, projects and how you can help, just take a look thought the project pages. Who wouldn’t want to share the “L”? Sofia & Georgey