The Life List

Notes of comfort

Musicians are using their star power to raise funds for those affected the most by the coronavirus pandemic - or simply to raise spirits. They include singer Elton John hosting a livestream concert with top acts performing from their living rooms and cellist Yo-Yo Ma offering comfort with classical pieces on social media. Eddino Abdul Hadi reports

Taylor Swift.
Taylor Swift. PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, ASSOCIATED PRESS, BLOOMBERG NEWS, REUTERS, UNIVERSAL MUSIC SINGAPORE
Iheart Living Room Concert For America.
Iheart Living Room Concert For America. PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, ASSOCIATED PRESS, BLOOMBERG NEWS, REUTERS, UNIVERSAL MUSIC SINGAPORE
Iheart Living Room Concert For America.
Iheart Living Room Concert For America. PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, ASSOCIATED PRESS, BLOOMBERG NEWS, REUTERS, UNIVERSAL MUSIC SINGAPORE
Iheart Living Room Concert For America.
Iheart Living Room Concert For America. PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, ASSOCIATED PRESS, BLOOMBERG NEWS, REUTERS, UNIVERSAL MUSIC SINGAPORE
Dolly Parton.
Dolly Parton. PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, ASSOCIATED PRESS, BLOOMBERG NEWS, REUTERS, UNIVERSAL MUSIC SINGAPORE
James Taylor.
James Taylor. PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, ASSOCIATED PRESS, BLOOMBERG NEWS, REUTERS, UNIVERSAL MUSIC SINGAPORE
Lady Gaga.
Lady Gaga. PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, ASSOCIATED PRESS, BLOOMBERG NEWS, REUTERS, UNIVERSAL MUSIC SINGAPORE
Carole King – So Far Away 2020.
Carole King – So Far Away 2020. PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, ASSOCIATED PRESS, BLOOMBERG NEWS, REUTERS, UNIVERSAL MUSIC SINGAPORE
Yo-Yo Ma’s Songs Of Comfort.
Yo-Yo Ma’s Songs Of Comfort. PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, ASSOCIATED PRESS, BLOOMBERG NEWS, REUTERS, UNIVERSAL MUSIC SINGAPORE

1 TAYLOR SWIFT

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American pop superstar Taylor Swift (left) has been quietly making donations to fans as well as employees of a Nashville record store who are facing financial stress due to the outbreak.

One fan tweeted about how she received US$3,000 (S$4,300) through PayPal from Swift, along with a note that said: "Erin, I saw your tweets about the financial and emotional stress you're under right now and it made me want so badly to help. I'm so sorry about your job and the uncertainty of what's going on right now. I hope this gift of $3,000 will help. I loved meeting you in New York and I hope you're safe and healthy! Your pal, Taylor".

2 IHEART LIVING ROOM CONCERT FOR AMERICA

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Hosted by English star Elton John, the star-studded livestream concert features music acts such as Backstreet Boys, Camila Cabello, Billie Eilish and Sam Smith performing from their living rooms.

Viewers watching through United States network Fox and radio station iHeartMedia were encouraged to donate to two charities, Feeding America and First Responders Children's Foundation. The show raised a total of US$8 million.

While the livestream is not available worldwide, pop star Mariah Carey has uploaded her performance to her YouTube channel.

3 HOMEFEST: A LATE LATE SHOW SPECIAL

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British host-comedian James Corden's US talk show might be on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, but that has not stopped him from making online broadcasts from his garage.

For Homefest: A Late Late Show Special, he roped in celebrity music friends ranging from Dua Lipa, who sang Don't Start Now from her London flat, to K-pop superstars BTS, who performed hit song Boy With Luv while in quarantine in South Korea.

Besides raising funds for charities Feed the Children and The CDC Foundation, viewers were also given tips on how to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

4 RIHANNA & JAY-Z

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Pop star Rihanna donated US$5 million through The Clara Lionel Foundation, named after her grandparents, to organisations involved in the fight against the coronavirus.

Beneficiaries include the World Health Organisation's (WHO) Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund and International Rescue Committee.

She also joined forces with Jay-Z's Shawn Carter Foundation to raise an additional US$2 million for Mayor's Fund For L.A. and other US organisations helping those in need during the outbreak.

5 DOLLY PARTON

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Country music star and actress Dolly Parton donated US$1 million to coronavirus research at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

She wrote in an Instagram post: "My long-time friend Dr Naji Abumrad, who's been involved in research at Vanderbilt for many years, informed me that they were making some exciting advancements towards research of the coronavirus for a cure."

She also encouraged fans to donate to the cause.

6 JAMES TAYLOR

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You've Got A Friend singer James Taylor and his wife Kim donated US$1 million to Massachusetts General Hospital's Emergency Response Fund. Taylor was born at the same Boston hospital.

He said in a statement: "Kim and I want to be part of this fight. We have been so inspired by the courage and sacrifice of the healthcare heroes in the trenches who are working so hard to protect us all."

The couple also donated US$350,000 to establish the Covid-19 Relief Fund for not-for-profit organisation Berkshire Health Systems.

7 LADY GAGA

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Lady Gaga's make-up line Haus Laboratories is donating 20 per cent of its profits from online sales to New York and Los Angeles food banks affected by closures brought about by the outbreak.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Twitter that the Telephone singer was on a call with him on her birthday, March 28, trying to find out how she could best assist the organisation.

8 CAROLE KING - SO FAR AWAY 2020

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American music icon Carole King sang an updated version of her 1971 song So Far Away on social media and also gave words of encouragement to fans in quarantine as well as those working hard battling the outbreak.

"So far away/Everybody has to stay in one place anymore/It would be so fine to see your face at my door/ Doesn't help to know/You're just time away," she sang.

The original version can be found on her 1971 classic album Tapestry, a Grammy-winning release that is also one of the best-selling albums of all time.

9 YO-YO MA'S SONGS OF COMFORT

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Chinese-American cellist Yo-Yo Ma has started a new series of videos of himself performing classical pieces, #SongsOfComfort, dedicating them to groups such as healthcare workers at the front lines of the pandemic.

"In these days of anxiety, I wanted to find a way to continue to share some of the music that gives me comfort," he wrote.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 06, 2020, with the headline Notes of comfort. Subscribe