Written by Schoen Aed  : Assembling 21 Grammy winners and nominees to come and sing as a choir with a fairly unknown Ugandan band is no easy task. But Kobi Arad, a Musician, and Stevie Wonder collaborator, has stood to the task pretty well.

It all began when Claes Nobel (Nobel Peace Prize family) has personally asked Arad to put it all together for the cause of educating refugees from Africa. “I was a bit overwhelmed by the all this honor”, Kobi recalls. He immediately began contacting various friends from Grammy network, where he’s a voter. “I brought in Wouter Kellerman from South Africe, who just got a Grammy, Robert Margouleff, who got Grammy with Stevie Wonder; Catherine Duc, a Grammy nominee. Mickey Stevenson was there as well, Brent Fischer (Prince’s arranger) conducted, and many others”.

 

At some point it dawned on Arad, that things are coming together. Feb. 12th 2016, Studio City Sound, Los Angeles, was when everybody stepped in the studio to record a song by the Ganda Boys’ (composed by Craig Pruess) the ‘Forgotten People’ as well as Arad’s composition ‘We’re All Standing’.

Lets flash a year forward… shocked by Prince’ ascent, there were many artists paying tribute by singing Prince’s cover songs. But not many originals. Arad recalls “I felt a strong urge to write a new original song for Prince, expressing my love for him, I love his music”. “So I gathered pretty much the same Grammy winners and noms and voters, to sing together and show some love and appreciation”.

Arad recalls, “I was dressed in a pajamma, going inside a  New York 99 cents / deli store, when I suddenly heard a little  black soulful girl singing “Forever, Forever”. Around that time I was grappling with how this song is going to sound like, and realized 5 minutes after, that God has just delivered the chorus to the song!” “I was psyched, riding back on my bike to wlliamsburg, Bedford Ave. humming this very song, while adding verse and all”.

Arad continues “As the process of recording was at its midst, me and a friend realized it may be better communicable if it were an Acapella version.” Arad then realized the right thing would be to contact his Grammy nominated peer, Armand Hutton to arrange it for Acappela. Hutton almost immediately got engaged in the task.

“We had to get all these guys from all over the globe to sing together, so I figured out the best way is to do it by a new system I came up with, which I call ‘Digitized Choir’, where every artist sends their part and I mix it all together.”

Although it has gotten attention from Neil Portnow’s and TV’s Grammy Ceremony production team, it yet did not score a Grammy for the team. However, upon sitting in a cafe in his winter “escape from New York weather” vacation in the sunny Tel Aviv, that Arad, completely by surprise, has realized he just won a Silver Medal of Global Music Award for the song ‘Forever – Original Tribute Song for Prince’.

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