Every so often I take a step back from writing about bands and write about music's impact on the world. This is such a time. A few years ago I found an organization called To Write Love On Her Arms. It's a non-profit founded by Jamie Tworkowski, it started out as a small “rock and roll rehab” for a troubled girl called Renee Yohe. Through love, and through music lives were changed.
Renee is clean and sober for 5 years now, an author, motivational speaker, and starting a music career of her own. She is also the subject and namesake of a major motion picture staring Kat Dennings, and Chad Michael Murray.
There's a mission statement at www.twloha.com/vision and I think Jamie put it best in that statement when he said “ I would rather write her a song, because songs don't wait to resolve, and because songs mean so much to her.” Music tends to speak for us when we can't find the words, or aren't brave enough to say them once we have them. To Write Love On Her Arms funded their “Rock and Roll rehab” by selling shirts at concerts and getting bands to wear them. That trend has continued, and has grown. Now the likes of Haley Williams from Paramore, P-Diddy, Skillet, Boys Like Girls, OneRepublic, Jon Foreman from Switchfoot, Sean from The Blackout, Derek Sanders from Mayday Parade, Deon Rexroat from Anberlin, Amy Lee from Evanescence, Bryce Avary from The Rocket Summer, Miley Cyrus Liv Tyler, Joaquin Pheonix,Casey Calvert from Hawthorne Heights, Kevin Skaff from A Day To Remember, Sam Boyd of samspeaks.net and Brendon Urie and Ryan Ross from Panic at the Disco have all been seen sporting the shirts, talking about the website, and spreading the word. Now it's my turn. I got a chance to talk with Chloe who works with To Write Love On Her Arms:
NB:Tell me a bit about your position at To Write Love On Her Arms:
Chloe: I am the Director of Communications and the Benefit Coordinator. I oversee all of the communications such as our social networking sites and I work with supporters seeking to organize an event to raise awareness and money for TWLOHA.
NB: TWLOHA's got a huge boost in publicity through music, what about music do you think relates to TWLOHA's message?
Chloe: Music has always been a big part of the story. Music speaks to people. It often says the things we're too afraid to admit to ourselves or others. It can lend a voice to silence which I believe is a big reason music has become involved in so much of what we do. Music allows us to share our message with a bigger audience.
NB: Tell me a little bit about the upcoming movie "Renee" there was a sneak peak at one of the scene's where Travie McCoy guest stars, how large of a role will music play in this movie?
Chloe: The "Renee" movie is a project that we're honored to be a part of. Music is a huge part of Renee's life and plays a big part in the TWLOHA story. Music will be an integral part of the film.
NB: Do you feel music really has the power to heal? Why?
Chloe: I think music has the power to speak into dark places. It can identify feelings and emotions that we couldn't. I think it can lift our hearts and allow us to communicate with others. For some it can be healing and for others it can be a way to communicate.
NB: Why did you get involved with TWLOHAs?
Chloe: I found out about TWLOHA when I saw someone wearing the shirt. I googled it and was completely blown away by the message and the story. I applied to be an intern, was accepted and later offered a full-time job. I've been with TWLOHA for two and a half years now.
NB: What has working with TWLOHA's meant to you?
Chloe: It's been absolutely incredible. I get to bring my heart to work every day and not a lot of other people can say that. I've met so many amazing people. They've shared their hearts with me and I've been honored to hear their stories. I've met some of my closest friends through the organization and have been fortunate enough to travel to some incredible places. It's been a blessing.
NB: What has been the best/most moving experience you've had with TWLOHA's?
Chloe: In 2009 I did a tour with Alkaline Trio and Saves the Day. We were in Chicago and I met a solider who had lost his brother (who was also a solider) to suicide a month prior. This was the first time he had gone out and only went because his friends made him. We had an amazing conversation. It was incredible that of all the places he could have gone he was at this show, where TWLOHA happened to be. It's stayed with me ever since.
NB: Any plans for a MOVE conference in Detroit?
Chloe: Not at the moment, but we're planning conferences for this summer and fall so it's definitely possible that Detroit will be one of the places.