Earlier this year, Delirious? frontman Martin Smith gathered 12 of his singer/songwriter friends to pen a dozen or so songs for Compassionart, a charity that seeks to use music to generate income for the world's poorest citizens. Altogether, 22 songs were written, the first just released April 8 on Wow Hits 1. Some notable artists involved on the project included Michael W. Smith, Chris Tomlin, and Steven Curtis Chapman as well as fellow Delirious? band member Stu Garrard.
"All of us as artists have been doing what we've been doing for many years - releasing records, writing songs, touching the earth in some way, but the fun of it is what we do when we come together," Smith said. "I thought, let me get some of these guys together under one roof for a week. And let's write some strong, killer songs, but more than that, let's try and give these songs away and really sew into some of these social problems around the world."
From touring throughout India, Rwanda, Cambodia and Indonesia over the years with his band, Smith has seen "amazing things, things that really shouldn't be allowed in our day in age," explaining that these experiences have deeply affected him and his band. "We're just trying to do a little bit and really use the microphone that we have been given to make some noise about these issues."
Fifty percent of the proceeds from each song will go to a charity of the individual artist's choice while the other half will be donated to another charity decided amongst the group. "I want those conversations to happen around the dinner table and for us to get an idea together that we really feel as a team we can put our time and money into. And that may be anything. I want that to come from all the people gathered and not just from me," he said.
While it's still too early to see when all 22 songs written at the retreat will be released, whether on iTunes or Compassionart's website, http://www.compassionart.co.uk/, Smith said he hopes to release a compilation album of all songs written. A few of the songs were recorded at the infamous Abbey Road Studios while just a couple weeks ago, the first single, "So Great" by Michael W. Smith, featuring Israel Houghton and Christy Nockels, was released on Wow Hits 1.
Smith said his hopes for the project are that fantastic songs are written which people can start performing in their own gigs, shows and churches as well as earn money, which will be given to charity and be distributed to many different projects. "Who knows what the future is? What's amazing is when you gather people together, then that's when the fun starts. It's when you sit around and you have an amazing group of people dreaming up new ideas and I think that's where the future is."
The group of singer/songwriters met early January in Scotland. Smith said the concept behind Compassionart is to do something together, remembering that the sum of all the parts is going to be greater. "That's definitely going to be what we can give back to the music world and also to many, many thousands of kids out there that are struggling to get through the night."