KLANG: After visiting single mother Shanti for R.AGE’s Christmastime in the City series, Malaysian artiste Russell Curtis was inspired to write the song Remember to highlight urban poverty in the country.
“We usually celebrate Christmas by having meals or parties with our families and exchanging gifts but for them, it’s not about the presents. They just want to get through their daily lives, and earn enough to eat and pay rent,” said Curtis.
“So I want to shine as much light as possible on the issue because there are people who don’t get to celebrate Christmas the way I do, or like most people do.”
The Christmastime in the City video series (rage.com.my/christmastime) saw R.AGE teaming up with artistes like Curtis, Bihzhu, Jumero, Chelsia Ng and Joy Victor to fulfil the Christmas wishes of urban poor families, and treat them to an exclusive carolling session.
Curtis performed at the home of Shanti, who earns below Selangor’s poverty line of RM1,500 per month per household. She works seven days a week, 12 hours a day, for a salary of RM600, which supports her five children aged between eight and 12.
Deeply moved by his visit on Dec 14, Curtis began writing the song three days later.
“I started making calls last Sunday, booked the studio, and brought the musicians into the studio on Monday. Everyone came in on their own accord and we recorded until 7am!” said the 34-year-old singer-songwriter.
“After a few hours’ sleep, I went back to the studio to do some mixing and corrections till 5am on Wednesday for the song’s release (yesterday). So the recording of the song was literally done in 48 hours.”
He also got the help of fellow local artiste Elvira Arul, who hopes that Malaysians realise the severity of urban poverty in their backyard.
“I was supposed to be there for the (Christmastime in the City) shoot but couldn’t make it. But Russell, the boys of (indie band) Jumero and Joy told me what they saw and when Russell said he wanted to do something, we all asked when,” said Elvira.
For Curtis, who brought along his two sons, it wasn’t just an eye-opening experience but a realisation that there were a lot of things that needed to be done to end the vicious cycle.
“It’s time that the sources got channelled into causes that are really in dire need of support because from what I know, this cycle perpetuates itself from generation to generation,” said Curtis.
Although there are no plans yet for online downloads of Remember, Curtis said any future proceeds from the track would go towards Malaysian Care, a non-profit organisation to help empower the poor.
You can do your part via Malaysian Care’s RM20 Challenge, which calls on Malaysians to donate the amount and nominate five friends to do the same.
For more info, go to malaysiancare.org.
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