BETWEEN THE LINER NOTES
Martin Smith: Showing Compassion Through Art
By Ashley Card
Martin Smith, frontman of Christian rock group Delirious?, along with his wife Anna, is on a mission to rid the world of poverty. His passion for music and helping those in need converge in his latest project, CompassionArt. It joins some of the biggest names in Christian music with the goal of raising money to bring physical and emotional healing to those that are less fortunate with their love for Christ at the center. In fact, every cent earned from the sales of CompassionArt albums will go to underdeveloped countries and charitable projects.
Recently, Smith sat down with CBNmusic.com to talk about this new undertaking and how music fans can play a part in helping the poor.
What exactly is CompassionArt?
Well, last January we gathered some amazing song writers from around the world. We went to Scotland, to an old house. We had a retreat there. The main thing was to write songs together. Amazingly, Michael W. Smith was there, Steven Curtis Chapman, Paul Baloche, Chris Tomlin, Tim Hughes, and several others were there. People like that. So, it was a group of 12 people, and we wrote 22 songs. We spent a whole year recording 14 of them. They just came out in America this spring. So, we’re really thrilled to have that happen.
This seems like a big job. What inspired you to start this project?
For the last five years, a lot of people, myself included, traveled to developing countries, like India, Africa, Indonesia, China, and places like that. We saw a lot of extreme poverty; the kind of poverty that’s not about not being able to afford the next Game Boy. We actually saw people not even having enough food to get through the day, without fresh rain water and medicine. And so, I think we’ve all been really impacted. We want to be people that didn’t just sing and write worship songs on a Sunday morning, but actually got involved ourselves, did something with what was in our hands to make a difference. We write songs. We make music. Let’s see what we can do to make some money.
All of the money from album sales goes to underdeveloped countries?
Yeah. Well, it goes to the projects that we’ve picked. If you want to go to our Web site, www.compassionart.tv, you’ll be able to find out all the projects that we are giving to around the world… some really exciting things. All the money is going to go to those things.
You mentioned a couple of artists earlier, including “Steven Curtis Chapman.” How many artists ended up working on this project with you?
There were twelve song artists that met in Scotland. They were the songwriters. Then, we added another six or seven artists that ended up being guests on the album, like Toby Mac, CeCe Winans, Amy Grant, Leeland, Joel Houston, Kirk Franklin, and others. So, all in all, it was about 20 people -- a really great selection of people. Everyone offered their time free of charge.
How did you get them to participate in this project?
Well, I just signed them up, and said, ‘Look…we need to do this.’ And everyone was like, ‘Great! Tell me where to be and I’ll be there!’ It was as simple as that. And it was a joy! I think it’s been life changing for all of us.
That’s awesome! Of the projects CompassionArt supports, which are particularly close to your heart?
There’s an amazing project in Uganda, and they have their own children’s choir. They have four villages that look over orphan children whose parents have died of HIV and the various effects. So it’s quite sad, but the church is looking after them. And they do an amazing job. One of the things they want to do there is that they want to help build a creative arts center. Another one is Hand of Hope, which is rescuing kids off the rubbish docks of Cambodia, giving them some primary health treatments, some education… just taking doctors and kits out to help them. So that’s fantastic too. And there’s a human trafficking project out in the UK. And that is a highlighted issue of the United Nations. The biggest growing crime today is human trafficking. As Christians, we got to not burry our heads in the sand.
You mentioned India and Africa. Where else is God sending you?
Well, there’s a project in Brazil, and that is going to reach people groups that live in parts of the Amazon that the government doesn’t even know exists. We’ll build hospitals and schools; again, just giving them that quality of life. There are the four big projects, and then there are some that everyone is personally involved with. There’s a whole heap of things there. Again, get on the Web site and you can find out everything you need to know, or get the record; it’s in the CD.
What would you say personally to Christian music fans about this project?
I just want to encourage everybody to get the record, and then the book goes along side as well, called the The Art of Compassion. And really just get your heads and hearts into it. If there’s anyway you could help us, on our time or financially, then please get in contact. That would be fantastic.
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