A group of homeless and marginalised people are giving Hugh Jackman a run for his money as they release their special version of The Greatest Showman’s ‘This Is Me’.
The Choir with No Name (CWWN) is a UK charity that gets more than 170 homeless people singing every week, running choirs in London, Birmingham, Brighton and Liverpool. Exploring a range of pop, rock, soul, gospel, reggae and musicals, each rehearsal ends with dinner for the singers, and the choirs perform regularly where they can, gigging everywhere from local homeless hostels to the Royal Festival Hall.
It aims to give people who have been homeless, have mental health problems or are otherwise vulnerable an opportunity to make friends and build their confidence. Organisers hope the choirs will help people move away from homelessness long-term – as well as helping them have fun.
CWWN took some choir members into professional studios to record the single, released to mark World Homeless Day, as well as recording a video to go alongside it at the studio sessions in Liverpool, London and Birmingham.
Sandra, one of the singers, said recording the single was “an incredible experience” that “eclipses being homeless”.
'I'm not scared to be seen, I make no apologies' #ThisisMe our #charitysingle and #musicvideo for #worldhomelessday is finally here! Head to https://t.co/eKu26C627a to watch the full video and stream/download the track! #worldmentalhealthday pic.twitter.com/q7oC5TwLvU
— Choir with No Name (@ChoirwithNoName) October 10, 2019
Feeling reenergised by the experience, she added: “This is a sign of things to come – I will be back on my feet. I feel so blessed and humbled to be part of a project that gives people hope. CWNN has saved my life.”
To coincide with the release, the charity is launching its #ThisIsMeinthree campaign. Some choir members who contributed their stories to the project were tasked with describing themselves in three words beyond what people see – and the charity wants social media users to do the same.
All money raised from sales of the track will go to fund CWWN’s work providing a supportive community for more than 1,000 vulnerable people every year.
As part of the #ThisIsMeinthree campaign, choir member Richard said: “I’ve always liked art and being with like-minded people.
“I’ve found a community now – I find it’s great to go somewhere and be creative. I teach watercolour workshops and I have an art exhibition coming up.”
Marie Benton, CWNN CEO & founder, added: “This Is Me is a song about stepping out of the shadows and being proud of who you are. At the Choir with No Name, we celebrate our diversity, individuality and potential.
“We are mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, grandmas and grandads. We are football fans, dog lovers, students and musicians. We’re not a nameless, homogenous mass of ‘the homeless’.
“We want the world to see homelessness as a systemic problem, not a personal affliction, and get engaged in the fight to end it.”
CWNN was able to give its members the recording studio experience thanks to funding from Arts Council England and Ocorian Trustees, as well as their partnership with music services company Kobalt.
Choir member Sal retrained as a bike mechanic and is hoping to help other women and girls follow in her footsteps by being involved with CWNN. She said: “I want to reclaim my power and find a more meaningful connection with the world.”
‘This Is Me’ can be streamed and downloaded here.