HANDY is honored to collaborate with international impact artist, Alexander Star, on our Library of Us project. What began as a collaborative musical album, has resulted in several projects, allowing youth to express their feelings, explore learning opportunities and build friendships. Star brings musical inspiration, leadership and motivation to HANDY’s youth through a variety of projects.
Alexander Star (A. Star) is an Emmy-nominated indie artist, songwriter, vocal producer, and social impact activist living in South Florida. A. Star has toured 10+ countries and is one of the few musicians invited to perform inside the United Nations Headquarters multiple times. His unique work in the field of world change has given him the title of “Impact Artist.”
A special thank you to our Library of Us sponsors. Without their support this project would not be possible.
Star and 17 HANDY youth produced “Library of Us,” a collaborative musical album consisting of six original songs written to express the journeys that youth in foster care and other vulnerable situations encounter during their lives. In 2021, “Library of Us” received a GRAMMY nod with a nomination to be on the ballot for best children’s album.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic kept Star and the kids apart, the entire album was recorded virtually with Star leading the songwriting sessions via Zoom. One of those sessions (which shows Star guiding youth through the songwriting process) was repurposed into the lyric video for “Way Too Much Faith,” the last song on the album.
Star worked with the kids during the pandemic to keep the youth inspired and hopeful, providing a creative outlet to express their feelings. Star coached the students and taught them to record clean vocals using only cell phones. Star collected all of the recordings, recorded his part, and began editing, mixing and mastering the collection. The outcome is “Library of Us,” which includes songs about fear, insecurity, abandonment, failure, spirituality and hope.
“Alexander is known internationally as an impact artist,” said Kirk Brown, CEO of HANDY. “We are lucky to have him as a neighbor who has a heart for our local community.”
“He has dedicated so much time to our youth, inspiring them every step of the way. This project was therapeutic, and the collaboration demonstrated that these kids are capable of great things. “Library of Us” allowed these kids to express their thoughts, feelings and emotions during a very challenging time.”
Brown had a vision for this project and worked with Star to design the album’s flow, consisting of six chapters focusing on the experiences of the youth. Each track on the album includes meaningful conversations between Star and the kids. The finished product is personal, powerful, and likely to hit home with all who hear it as these young people pour out their hearts into the recordings.
“I’ve built a career using music as a vehicle for positive impact, and sticking by this mantra literally brings me around the world,” says Star. “Along the way, I discovered that one of my strongest gifts as an artist is unearthing self-confidence buried within people and using it to help them locate their [often suppressed] talents for writing powerful and relatable lyrics.”