Mariah: A 'Save The Music' Hero

The Early Show's "Save the Music" guest Thursday was the No.1 selling female artist of all time. Mariah Carey, who made a donation to the music campaign, has 15 No. 1 hit singles and was the only artist to top the charts in each year of the 1990s.

Carey as been one of Save The Music Foundation's longest supporters. She says when she was a kid she was not a stellar student but music kept her on track.

She tells co-anchor Harry Smith,"I really wanted to do what I like. What I loved was music. When they take the programs out of the schools, you might be missing an opportunity to get one of the most incredible talents that could emerge out of a school or whatever area. So I feel it's important to support Save the Music."

On Thursday, she donated a microphone, which she says costs a small fortune, signed "Love always, Mariah." Put your bid on eBay and it can be yours.

The daughter of a former opera singer and vocal coach, Carey began singing at the age of 4 and was writing her own songs by the time she was attending Olfield Middle School.

About her upbringing, she says, "Music was always important to me. My mom is a vocal coach, so I had it at home, too. I had a really cool music teacher who totally believed in me and would make me feel special. And so I like to give her a little bit of credit as well, because you need that encouragement. Maybe if they didn't have music programs, some of those kids wouldn't get that. We wouldn't have people like Jimmy Jam who is an all-around incredible person."

Jimmy Jam has also been supporting Save the Music in a variety of ways. The legendary music producer announced on Thursday's The Early Show a pledge by ASCAP (Foundation (the American Society of Composer Authors, and Publishers).

Jam says, "We are a songwriter organization. We have 100,000 songwriters around the country. And what we've done, wherever VH1 Save the Music goes into schools and gives instruments, we give sheet music so that the kids can learn. We've been doing that for a while. Now, what we're going to do today is add a new component at a grass-roots level, utilizing our 100,000 members, which I'm one of them. We're going to go in and do master classes with the kids as part of the education program that we're doing. I may show up at your school one day and show you a little piano stuff."

ASCAP is donating $100,000 worth of music. The auction item will be autographed bobblehead dolls of Jimmy Jam and partner Terry Lewis.

Jam is a member of the ASCAP board of directors. Along with Terry Lewis, he has produced an astonishing 16 No.1 records and more than 40 top-10 hits. Jam has produced for the likes of Janet Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Patti Labelle, TLC, Usher and Mariah Carey.

Why The Need

Recent budget cuts have put many music education programs at risk. From Providence to Portland, communities have reduced or eliminated public school music programs. This is occurring in spite of the growing body of research that documents the benefits of music education and some overwhelming public support. An astounding 95 percent of Americans believe that music is a key component in a child's well-rounded education, according to a 2003 Gallup Survey.

What You Can Do

If you want to help keep music in your local schools, here's what you can do:
Donate an instrument - If you live in New York City, bring your instrument to The Early Show Plaza at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue, but there also are drop-off locations all around the country.

Bid on great stuff - Go to eBay where celebrities have donated various items. All proceeds go to the VH1 Save the Music Foundation.

Donate Money – Go to vh1savethemusic.com to make a cash contribution. Donations will be used to purchase new instrument.

Support your local programs – Help support public school music programs in your community. Visit the VH1 Save The Music Web site for tools and materials or go to supportmusic.com.

Only 25 percent of our nation's 8th graders are able to participate in instrumental music. This is a big concern because research has proven that students who are involved with music do better in school and are less likely to do drugs or join gangs

The VH1 Save The Music Foundation purchases new musical instruments to restore music education programs that have been cut because of budget reductions in the past or to save programs at risk of elimination due to lack of instruments.

Mariah Carey was part of the first Public Service Announcement series, raising awareness of Save the Music; she participated in the very first VH1 DIVAS LIVE benefit concerts in 1998 (and has performed in two others). She has donated items for annual auctions, made public appearances to speak out on behalf of the foundation and has visited public schools where music programs have been restored.

She says music has helped her through the tough times in her life. She explains, "The thing that I have tried to put into my music is the spirit of someone who stays with things and makes it happen despite adversity. Songs like 'Hero' or 'Through the Rain' are about survival.

"That's how I have gotten through my life. Music is something that has gotten me through every difficult situation, from 'Charmbracelet,' which is my emotional release, writing down everything I needed to say, singing from my heart, a healing process. That's why it's very important that we keep saving the music for kids like these."

Next week, Carey kicks off her first world tour in three years in support of her current CD, "Charmbracelet," which features the No. 1 selling single "Through the Rain" and the new single, "Bringing on the Heartbreak" which is a Def Leppard cover.

The "Charmbracelet" world tour starts in Seoul, Korea, June 21. The U.S. leg kicks off July 26 in Las Vegas. This is her first-ever theatre tour, a more scaled-down production that she wanted to provide a more intimate environment for her fans.

So she is asking fans to request their favorite songs on her Web site and she will use those choices to come up with her set list for each night.

Carey's "Charmbracelet" CD, released in December 2002,has sold more than 3 million copies worldwide and has topped the charts across the globe.

It is the first release of her own record label, MonarCMusic. Randy Jackson of "American" Idol fame, co-produced a lot of the album with Carey and is her musical director.

Carey's was recently honored at the Fresh Air Fund's annual Spring Gala for her contributions to make sure kids from the city can get out to the country and go to camps.

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