Founded in 1989 by the Recording Academy, MusiCares has devoted it’s mission to help music industry folks and artists in times of dire need. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, MusiCares was able to match its initial donation of $1 million, during a time where musicians couldn’t even drive to another city to play their instrument, let alone possess one they could play.
For Nashville, the organization is marching to a similar tune, partnering with Guitar Center, the Gibson Foundation and legendary music mogul Clive Davis. Mr. Davis has reportedly proposed a $5 million matching grant to MusiCares, its largest offer to date.
MusiCares is composed of music industry professionals and veterans alike from the Grammy Foundation and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (N.A.R.A.S), the organization which produces the Grammys every year. MusiCares relies on the passion of its board members and trustees to give back to struggling artists, and has challenged its chapters to find unique ways to get involved and raise money.
Billy Zero, a member of the Academy and a trustee, held a fundraiser last Saturday for the flood relief at his private home in the Maryland countryside, just outside of Washington, D.C., featuring performances by various local musicians from surrounding areas. Zero’s first fundraiser to date, “Delmarva Cares” indicates Delaware, Maryland and Virginia— the states which encompassed the bulk of the day’s musical showcase.
A true music man, Mr. Zero has supported musicians his entire life. He is primarily focused on his work with the Grammys, and to working with musicians he loves. Zero is the founder and president of the independent label DJ Boy Records, and a recent creator of Chemistry Management. “My whole career has been about trying to help broken musicians make it,” he said. “There are so many musicians who don’t even have health insurance.” Zero is also the president for the N.A.R.A.S. D.C. Chapter. “A lot of the people here today are impressive musicians— and from the world of people who support those impressive musicians,” he said of the event.
The all day musical fest and barbecue was nestled in the woods of Davidsonville, Maryland, with performers ranging from classic singer/songwriter to hillbilly rock ‘n roll like the Remnants, and hiphop and soulful R&B. Dean Rosenthal, a musician who was victimized by Hurricane Katrina, graced the crowd with his harmonica. Most noteworthy was New York City’s Alfonso Velez (formerly of D.C.) who closed the night solo, with a bluesy rendition of Robert Johnson’s “Malted Milk,” on a howling Schecter Saturn guitar, after rifling through a batch of his own tunes.
Thanks to Mr. Zero’s efforts, Delmarva Cares successfully raised $1,000 through the generous donations of his guests. Raffle prizes included box seat tickets to the Kings of Leon at Jiffy Lube Live, and Anthony Bourdain at the Warner Theater.
If you would like to make a donation to MusiCares Nashville Flood Relief fund, click here for more information.