May 25, 2011

New Album/Collaboration Brings Much Needed Spotlight To Youth

ASCAP, America SCORES and The Great Unknown Release Other Voices, Other Rooms

Name-Your-Own-Price CD Available July 19 with The Great Unknown Donating all Proceeds to the ASCAP Songwriter Residency @ America SCORES

The Great Unknown - NYC

The Great Unknown and America SCORES students from PS 171 Patrick Henry Elementary School at their recording session at Avatar Studios in New York City

New York, NY, May 25, 2011: ASCAP, a membership association of songwriters, composers and music publishers, and America SCORES, a nationally acclaimed after-school program in under-resourced neighborhoods, are pleased to announce Other Voices, Other Rooms, a collection of songs by critically-acclaimed Philadelphia-based band The Great Unknown and America SCORES students from elementary and middle schools in Washington DC, Cleveland, Milwaukee, New York City and Boston. The songs were written and recorded in fall 2010 when the band headlined the first five-city tour for the ASCAP Songwriter Residency @ America SCORES.

The name-your-own-price CD contains 5 original songs - all lyrics written by America SCORES students, arranged by & music by The Great Unknown - and will be available July 19, 2011. The Great Unknown is donating all proceeds from online sales to the ASCAP Songwriter Residency @ America SCORES.

Get a free download of "Decomposers and Producers," the first track from the CD, and/or pre-order the CD here:

The ASCAP Songwriter Residency @ America SCORES is a partnership between ASCAP and America SCORES that provides a platform for songwriters to easily connect and give back to their local communities by engaging and inspiring school students in under-resourced neighborhoods. Over the course of three afternoons, ASCAP songwriters - from rising stars to Grammy Award-winning artists - collaborate with America SCORES students to write and record an original song. The ASCAP Foundation, a public charity dedicated to supporting music education and talent development, funds the program.

The Great Unknown's five-city tour grew out of a meeting between lead vocalist and songwriter, Todd Henkin, and ASCAP Membership Executive, Sue Devine, who created and produces the program with America SCORES in 15 cities across the country. Henkin was looking for ways to incorporate service into his band's tour model and the Songwriter Residency proved to be a great match.

"Artists want to be visionary leaders in their communities but the business of succeeding in the music industry often takes up all their time," Devine commented. "We created the Songwriter Residency to bridge that gap and make it easier for an artist to engage with their local community in a way that is meaningful and long lasting."

The band worked with a group of 15-30 America SCORES students from elementary or middle schools in each city, brainstorming and co-writing a song during two classroom sessions and then recording the song in a professional studio during the third session.

"We had conversations with the kids and asked questions that would encourage creative responses, such as: 'In 100 years, what will be written about you?,' 'What was your last dream?' and 'What do you know about love?' After the first day we took their journals home and mined them, arranging their words to create a song," said Henkin. "Certain lines would just jump out, like 'I know about love, love is when you're in love,' and I would know, that's the beginning of the song."

"We believe these kids have important voices that need to be heard and we wanted to tell them that," Henkin added. "With all of the cuts in arts programs at schools across the country we felt it was great timing to get involved. These songs, and the work and excitement these kids readily offered us, is proof of how important it is for them to have this kind of creative outlet. We had an incredibly enriching experience with the kids in each community."

Devine concluded: "We're thrilled to have The Great Unknown not only collaborating with, but also bringing much needed attention to such a valuable program as America SCORES, which inspires youth to find their voice. This is the power of music and the reason we all love it so much."

The band created videos of their writing and recording sessions in each city. Watch the videos here:

The Great Unknown is in the process of mixing their new album So Strange and Loud, which they recorded at The Dragon's Egg in Mystic, CT. The album is scheduled for release in fall 2011.

In fall 2010, the ASCAP Songwriter Residency @ America SCORES was held in 10 cities. The Great Unknown headlined the first five-city tour for the program. Other participating artists were Latin Grammy Award-winning songwriter Claudia Brant (Luis Fonsi, Carlos Santana) and songwriting & production duo Da Internz (Justin Bieber, John Legend) in Los Angeles, CA; Grammy-nominated songwriter Odie Blackmon (George Strait, Lee Ann Womack) in St. Louis, MO; So So Def/Island Music recording artist Dondria in Dallas, TX; Grammy-nominated songwriter/producer Chris Henderson (R. Kelly, Jamie Foxx) in Atlanta, GA; and Grammy-nominated songwriter/producer The Legendary Traxster (Ludacris, Twista) in Chicago, IL.

About America SCORES: Founded in 1994, America SCORES is a national non-profit that partners with urban schools in 15 cities across the nation to provide a high quality after-schoolprogram that integrates poetry, soccer and service-learning. Using teamwork as a unifying value, America SCORES' mission is to inspire youth to lead healthy lives, be engaged students, and have the confidence and character to make a difference in the world. America SCORES innovative and holistic approach to youth development encourages creative expression among youth while improving their health, academic achievement and civic engagement. Participants show significantly improved physical fitness, higher school attendance rates, and increased self confidence after just one season in the program.