Music has the power to change and unite us — although it doesn’t always do so in the way we expect.
Mark Johnson and Whitney Kroenke, co-founders of Playing for Change, spent years traveling through the U.S. to document people’s passion for sound before one stranger changed their outlook forever.
Roger Ridley, a street performer, was singing “Stand By Me” in Santa Monica, California, when Mark happened by in 2005. Stunned by his incredible voice, Mark asked if he could record Roger for their project, and Roger said yes.
That’s when the two began talking. Like many of us would, Mark guessed Roger was playing on the streets to try to make it big, to which Roger replied, “Man, I’m in the joy business. I come out to be with the people.”
Those words completely changed Mark and Whitney’s perspective. Since then, one of their main projects has been creating “Songs Around the World.” In these videos, they make gorgeous covers that feature gifted street artists who are also “in the joy business.”
The final products are beautiful demonstrations of how we all fit together through music, no matter how different we may seem.
What a wonderful way to spread hope! After all, when we pursue joy, we can’t help but share it with each other.
Watch Playing for Change’s cover of “Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay” in the video below, and don’t forget to share it with your friends!
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