Pascal, Sheik, O'Hara, Cerveris, & Scott Featured on Our Time's 'LISTEN' CD, Released 6/23
On June 23rd, a remarkable album, eight years in the making, will be released. ‘LISTEN' is a collection of 15 original songs, written by children who stutter, and recorded by iconic artists including Carly Simon, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Duncan Sheik, John Forte, Mandy Patinkin and many others.
In addition, Jon Bon Jovi donated the use of his studio, so that his state-of-the-art facility could support the recording process. Superstars from the worlds of pop, rock, R&B, Broadway, hip-hop and more joined together to contribute their time and talents to a cause bigger than stuttering - a call for compassion and acceptance, and for respect of one-another's differences.
In a world where everything -- from news to conversations to decision-making -- happens so fast that we can hardly catch our breath, ‘LISTEN' implores us to stop and do just that. Children who stutter are often ridiculed or ignored for not being able to express themselves quickly enough. They've finally been given a safe haven via ‘Our Time'.
Our Time is a non-profit organization centered on a one-of-a-kind Arts program that provides children who stutter with an environment of unconditional acceptance...a creative forum, where they can express themselves through art, music, writing and theater, slowly and without risk of being shamed. Founded by Taro Alexander (who has stuttered since he was five years old,) and fueled by the incomparable energy of Musical Director Everett Bradley, Our Time Theatre Company is a free resource for these children and their families. There is no place quite like Our Time.
Their ‘LISTEN' album will be released on Sh-K-Boom Records, and proceeds will benefit Our Time. Featuring songs written by Our Time Kids aged 8-18 under the stewardship of Everett Bradley and Associate Musical Director Carl Danielsen, ‘LISTEN' is inspiring proof that these children simply need a few good people in their lives, and they can flourish. It's also evidence that kids who stutter are eloquent, brilliant, creative young minds, if they're given a chance to articulate themselves at their own pace. On June 23rd, this CD will give voice to a group of kids who usually don't get listened to.
The album includes ‘Magical Place,' a stunning reverie written by Our Time's pre-teens, aged 8-12, and sung by Our Time kid Julianna Padilla. The lyrics say everything you need to know about the shame these children feel, and the newfound hope they get from being a part of Taro Alexander's organization: "There is a magical place called Our Time, when you step right in, you will be loved. There's freedom here in this place...no one makes fun of you. You will be loved."
From the anthemic ‘You Don't Know Hurt', performed by Carly Simon, to the soulful ‘Nothing In This World', sung by Daryl Hall and John Oates...from John Forte's rap on ‘Perfect Place' to Duncan Sheik's pop groove (featuring Holly Brook) on ‘All I Want Is Love', to Mandy Patinkin's ‘Breathe In', the album delivers an astonishingly polished and diverse array of songs and styles, performed by artists who care. Though these are not ‘kids' songs', the fact that the tracks were written by young children makes the achievement of ‘LISTEN' all the more impressive.
Other artists who recorded for ‘LISTEN' include Blue Man Group, Ann Hampton Callaway, Michael Cerveris, Amanda Kravat, Adriane Lenox, Norm Lewis, Kelli O'Hara, Adam Pascal, Anthony Rapp, Nicki Richards, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Sherie Rene Scott, Stomp, Mary Testa, Michelle Weeks, Lucy Woodward, Cast Members from Spring Awakening, and the youth of Our Time. Our Time's Taro Alexander and Everett Bradley provide vocals as well.
Track listing (subject to change,) is as follows:
Nothing In This World (written by Our Time member Dashawn Taylor, age 12)
Lead and background vocals - Daryl Hall and John Oates
Breathe In (written by Our Time member Naudia Jones, age 17)
Lead Vocals - Mandy Patinkin
When I Am Loved (written by Our Time member Dashawn Taylor, age 14)
Lead vocals - Nicki Richards
Our Time Made Us Loud (written by Our Time members Andre Gillyard, age 18, Jonathan Greig, age 17, and Keith Russell, age 17)
Lead Vocals - Jonathan Greig, Andre Gillyard, Keith Russell
Special appearance - Stomp
Magical Place (written by Our Time pre-teens, ages 8-12)
Lead vocals - Julianna Padilla; Special appearance - William Gallison
Taro Alexander is an accomplished performer, teacher, and director who has stuttered since the age of five. His artistic impulses were encouraged by his parents at an early age and his interest in contributing to social change was influenced greatly by the work of his father, the late Bobby Alexander, who founded the legendary Living Stage Theatre Company in Washington, DC. Taro graduated from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and went on to be cast in his first professional role at the age of nineteen in the National Tour of Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers. After years of building a successful performing career, including four years in the cast of the Off-Broadway smash STOMP and appearances on NBC's Law & Order, Taro decided that it was time to realize his lifelong dream of utilizing art to transform the lives of people who stutter. He founded Our Time in the Fall of 2001. Mr. Alexander has been widely recognized for his work with people who stutter and has led workshops, master classes, and performances around the world from Dublin to Montreal to Glasgow to Chicago to San Francisco to New Orleans. In March 2002, he was honored by the National Council on Communicative Disorders at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, where he received the Charles Van Riper Award. In July 2005, he gave the keynote address at the National Association of Young People Who Stutter (Friends) Conference in Cleveland. Taro and Our Time have been featured on NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams, NPR's All Things Considered, The Today Show, WNBC, as well as in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Washington Post. He would like to thank the young people of Our Time for their courage and trust. He is honored to be married to the amazing Leigh Pennebaker. They are the proud parents of one son, with another baby due in late Summer, 2009.
Here's what Taro says about ‘LISTEN':
This album gives voice to a group of children who are too-often not listened to. By validating the artistic spirit of children who have been marginalized by society, this album provides inspiration to us all, empowering everyone to have courage and recognize the value of their own unique voice. At the same time it celebrates the amazing power of listening, acceptance, and love.
We live in a fast-paced society that encourages conformity and is often unkind to those of us who are different, whether we stutter or not. "Listen" is about the voice of incredible value that lies within each of us, regardless of fluency. It is also about the miracles that happen when we slow down long enough to really pay attention to our fellow human beings. There is profound and transformative beauty to be found in the simple act of listening.
The young people of Our Time have shown me personally how to live out of courage instead of fear, determination instead of defeat, and kindness instead of selfishness. These are universal themes that I think will resonate with people all over the world. I hope "Listen" will encourage all of us to love ourselves, and each other, and embrace life to the fullest. As 17-year-old Our Time member Naudia Jones wrote in Breathe In, "breathe in the life you're living, reach out and take a chance, breathe in the life you're given, don't be afraid to dance."
Everett Bradley is a Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter, producer, actor, dancer and has shared his multi-flavored art with New York City and the world, for over 20 years. He has done everything from touring and performing, in and out of the studio, with musical giants like Bobby McFerrin, Jon Bon Jovi, Quincy Jones, Carly Simon, and recently Hall and Oates, to being the first American to lead and direct the British percussive sensation STOMP. Mr. Bradley
topped the charts in Europe with his dance classic "I Luv U Baby." Everett won the prestigious Theatre World Award for co-writing, co-arranging, and starring in the hit Broadway musical "SWING," which was nominated for the 2000 Tony Award for Best Musical and also received a Grammy nomination for best Broadway Cast Recording. Everett's first full-length CD, "AS IT EVER IS," received rave reviews from both Billboard and People magazines. His haunting ballad "Whadify" was featured in the closing episode of Dawson's Creek. His original holiday CD entitled "TOY," is a joyous, funky collection of new Christmas tunes. This self-produced album features duets with Richie Sambora (guitarist with the Jon Bon Jovi Band), song siren Ann Hampton Callaway, and trumpet great Chris Botti. This accomplishment has received rave reviews from the Washington Post, USA Today, and Christmasmusic.com. He has since created Envision Music Design with long time friend and colleague Gregg Parratto. Both Indiana University School of Music graduates are now actively producing artists recordings, TV and film, and advertisements as well as Our Time's "Listen" album. This summer, Mr. Bradley will be honoring an awarded invitation from the Civitella Ranieri Center where gifted artists from different disciplines and countries come together to pursue their work and exchange ideas. Everett will work on his one-man show "Ev/OLUTION in a 15th century castle in the Umbria region of Italy. Everett feels extremely fortunate to be working with Our Time Theatre Company for the past 7 years.
Camp Our Time is an extension of Our Time Theatre Company, and is the first of its kind: an arts camp uniquely tailored for kids who stutter, their young family members, and friends, ages 8-18. This groundbreaking program infuses traditional camp recreation with Our Time's distinctive arts programming to build confidence that is vital for their developing years. Camp Our Time can have a lifetime impact on kids who have longed for sustained interaction with others who understand their struggle to express themselves. Camp Our Time takes place August 9-16, 2009 at Iroquois Springs, an American Camp Association accredited camp facility located in Rock Hill, NY, 90 minutes north of New York City. Camp Our Time offers an outstanding counselor-to-camper ratio, affordable all-inclusive tuition, and financial aid to all youth in need.
Camp Our Time welcomes youth from all over the world. For more information or to register for Camp Our Time, visit www.ourtimetheatre.org or call: 212-414-9696
Our Time Theatre Company is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has been improving the lives of kids who stutter since 2001. It is estimated that more than 60 million people in the world stutter, and this commonly misunderstood speech disorder causes extreme emotional distress in kids who struggle not only with verbal communication but also shame, discrimination, and social isolation. At Our Time, kids who stutter transform this fear and shame associated with stuttering into confidence and self-esteem.
Through a summer camp that welcomes kids from all over the world as well as local New York City programming, Our Time is the only organization that uses the performing arts to turn stuttering inside out. Our Time serves young people who stutter, their young family members, and friends, ages 8 to 18, from a wide diversity of backgrounds. There is no audition for prospective participants and no performance experience necessary. The company is committed to offering its NYC-based programming free of charge and providing financial aid to all youth in need for Camp Our Time.
Our Time provides a creative community that fosters unconditional acceptance and allows youth who stutter to feel respected and validated. Youth collaborate with others who also struggle to be heard in the everyday world. Our Time participants are assured that what they have to say is important, and they will have as much time as needed to express their unique and valuable voices, free from judgment and ridicule.
One of the tragedies of stuttering is that those who are afflicted often come to believe that voicing their thoughts, feelings, and dreams is not as important as hiding their disorder from the world. The arts brilliantly combat this notion, providing a vehicle for expression for those who have been silenced.
Through Our Time's artistic programming, youth gain the courage and strength to not let their speech disorders limit their life experiences or quell their dreams.
The Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight label has emerged as the standard bearer on the Broadway music scene. Their recent releases of the OCRs for Tony winners In The Heights and Passing Strange, as well as their single release featuring the winner of MTV's Legally Blonde The Musical competition, have brought them acclaim for their innovative marketing techniques and their efforts to reach the next generation of Broadway music fans via iTunes, music videos and more. The label (and President Kurt Deutsch) recently earned their first ever GRAMMY AWARD for In The Heights. Coverage has ranged from Rolling Stone to USA TODAY to The New York Times, from Blender Magazine to Playbill to Billboard, from AP Radio to Entertainment Weekly, from New York Magazine to Variety to NY-1 TV, from Time Out NY to Paper Magazine to The Advocate and much more. Other current releases include the OCR for '13 - The New Broadway Musical,' and a double CD collector's edition of 'Reefer Madness.' Their release of ‘Patti LuPone at Les Mouches' received expansive and wildly favorable media overage. They recently released Sutton Foster's solo CD, ‘Wish', and coverage included two USA TODAY ‘Listen Up Music Picks', an appearance on NBC-TV Weekend Today Show, and a debut on Billboard's Heatseekers Chart.