Two musicians with very different styles who didn't know anything about each other are now working together to promote social action.
One of them is Akon, the internationally famous Senegal-born "soul singer", whose albums Trouble and Konvicted have been sold by the millions. He had four Grammy nominations this year and has simultaneously held the top two spots on Billboard's Hot 100 list .. not once, but twice.
The other musician is Peter Buffett, son of the internationally famous investor Warren Buffett, and now the co-chair of a new foundation initially funded by a gift from his father. (Two weeks ago, he teamed with Nike for a $100 million investment in the "Girl Effect.")
While Buffett's sales have been more modest than Akon's, he has created a following with a series of electronic, layered CDs.
Today, Akon and Buffett announced the start of a "musical collaboration" and a new social action website, IsThereSomethingICanDo.com.
The collaboration is a new version of Buffett's song Anything from his Staring At the SunCD which was released last summer. The track has been remixed by Akon, who also added his own vocals to Peter's original recording. The result is available as a free download at the new site.
(See the August, 2007 WBW post Musician Peter Buffett's Life Lesson from his Father Warrento learn more about Peter and his music.)
According to a news release, the social portal "hopes to answer the question 'Is there something I can do?' posed within the song. It offers "practical ways to get involved in affecting positive change" and allows users to "learn and share informational about their experiences with giving back."
Buffett first wrote the song after visiting Liberia and Sierra Leone. Using material he shot himself, he also created this video .. which caught Akon's attention and prompted him to reach out to Buffett.
Buffett calls the song a "global call to action" and says he was honored and surprised when Akon answered that call. Surprised, perhaps, because Buffett didn't know anything about the popular musician who has sold eight million records.
Akon was surprised, too. "I didn't know who Peter was when we met, and he didn't know anything about me. That's the thing that makes our work together genuine: It's based simply on our desire to encourage people to do something."
Akon plans to work on Can We Love? from Buffett's upcoming September release Imaginary Kingdom. Peter recently performed the song at this year's V-Day rally to stop violence against women and girls around the world. It's also available as a free download from his site.
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