Singer-Songwriter Shelley King Builds A Philanthropic Fire With Teen Group Fuel Our Fire And HOME For Austin Musicians
In a music community renowned for its supportive nature, Austin singer-songwriter Shelley King devotes her energy to several philanthropic causes, from serving on the board of Housing Opportunities for Musicians and Entertainers to helping teens articulate their experiences through music. A week before the Aug. 26 release of her new Lemonade Records album, Building A Fire, her work with teens and seniors not only created a unique synergy, it reinforced the importance of such efforts, no matter how small.
Fuel Our Fire, the coincidentally named youth group, uses the motto, "heal the world through music." In partnership with the Amala Foundation and the One Village Music Project, it creates weeklong workshops for teens participating in Amala's global youth peace summits. With the help of mentors such as King, the teens write and professionally record songs for compilation albums
Shelley King helps teens with their music project during a Fuel Our Fire workshop. Pictured (from lt to rt) Jasmine Bell, Shelley King, Sadie Howard, Lily Provenzano, and Kahindo Musongera.King spent several days working with her group, including Monday, Aug. 18; that night, a benefit was held for HOME, the organization she co-founded with musicians Marcia Ball, Carolyn Wonderland and Sarah Brown and other women in the music community to provide housing aid for older Austin musicians in need. They initially banded together in 2010 to help blues singer Miss Lavelle White after learning of her struggle to obtain adequate, affordable housing. (In another serendipitous coincidence, King's 2012 album release was titled Welcome Home.)
In a community that takes to heart the notion that healing the world through music begins at home, King has long history of leadership and philanthropy. Named as the Official State Musician of Texas in 2008, she has added her soulful Americana voice and energies to a variety of causes and fund-raising efforts. A Christmas song she wrote a couple of years ago for a Health Alliance for Austin Musicians benefit album has become a local holiday staple; this year, she learned, two community groups plan to perform it in their seasonal programs.
Of course, she's thrilled. "I came here to have a music community," King says of her move to Austin two decades ago. And once she did, she knew she was home.
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