Mary J. Blige has joined Irish singer Sinead O'Connor and newcomer Martha B to record a special song to express a simple promise to vulnerable children in America and around the world: You may not see us, but we see you. And we will love and care for you.
Proceeds from the song will go to Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS), the largest organization in the US empowering girls and young women, ages 12-21, who have experienced sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking to exit the commercial sex industry and develop to their full potential.
Production on the song began in January 2009 when Sinead and GEMS began to assemble the creative and production team for the project. Sinead’s immediate choice for a vocalist to sing with her was the incomparable Mary J Blige, who responded immediately to Sinead’s invitation with an enthusiastic YES. With this settled, the project quickly added producers Martin ‘Doc’ McKinney (Sting, Alice Smith) and Ali Shaheed Muhammad (A Tribe Called Quest), who spent three months developing the instrumental track for this new recording. On August 13th, Sinead entered the recording booth at the legendary Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin (also known as the ‘U2 Studio’) to lay her vocals for the song. In New York, GEMS and the producers waited with great excitement to get the ruff mix of O’Connor’s vocals, and then went to work scheduling Mary J Blige and newcomer Martha B to record at Germano Studios in Soho. On September 10th, Mary and Martha entered the studio to complete the vocal tracking for the song.
For Martha, who has always dreamed of being a professional singer, the experience at Germano Studios was a once in a lifetime first. Not only did she have the opportunity to observe the skill and artistry Mary possesses in the studio, she also got to meet her idol and then step into the same recording booth and lay her own vocals. She was a quick study, adopting the studio ‘lingo’ and patient demeanor that Mary demonstrated during her session. At midnight that night, producers called it a wrap, and the new charity recording of This Is to Mother You officially entered post-production. Along the way, Martha impressed the producers with her calm under pressure, and her unique and powerful voice.
Commenting on the experience, Ali Shaheed Muhammad said: “I feel like we are witnessing that special ‘first time in the studio’ moment for an artist with a long career ahead of her.” As GEMS re-iterates to its members everyday, all is possible when you believe in your potential and work hard to reach it.