Tuesday the 3rd of August

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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Vincentian charity uses power of Spotify playlists to tell unheard stories of youth homelessness

An innovative campaign by a Vincentian youth homelessness charity is using Spotify playlists to tell the unheard stories of young people who have experienced homelessness.

Depaul Unheard: Playlists Against Homelessness aims to reach the 16-to-25 age group with which Depaul UK works and reframe how they see homelessness.

With the support of Spotify playlists, the stories of George, 20, Kristina, 20, Fatos, 25, Jecoliah, 19, and Emma, 21, are told using the titles of songs in a personal way. As users read the song titles, the playlist reveals that young person’s experience of homelessness.

A final ‘track’ allows the listener to hear directly from the individual, giving a unique insight into their previously unheard story.

The diverse playlists break down stereotypes of people who experience homelessness by sharing personal accounts of the varied circumstances which can lead to someone not having a home.

Tom Grennan, who achieved a Top Five album in the UK charts this year with his debut hit Lighting Matches, recently completed a sold-out UK and European tour, including Brixton Academy. He recently flew back from the Russian leg of his current tour to play at the Depaul Unheard launch event.

“I’m proud to be performing to support the Depaul Unheard campaign. Listening to these moving stories, told through Spotify, will change your understanding of youth homelessness,” he said.

Spotify’s UK Head of Sales Rakesh Patel said: “I am very happy that Spotify is able to allow these stories to be heard and shared through our platform and the artists on it.”

Mike Thiedke, Depaul UK’s CEO, said: “Every experience of homelessness is unique, and the diversity of playlists demonstrates this. Through Spotify, we hope to break through the noise and reach listeners directly so that they can understand what people like George and Fatos have experienced.

“We’re very grateful for the support we have received from Spotify, Facebook, Tom Grennan and Sony. And our partner Publicis London’s creativity and enthusiasm have made this project a reality. Working with such exciting companies ensures we are able to amplify our voice and raise awareness of this important issue.”

Jecoliah, who features in the campaign and performed at the launch event under her stage name, J Cocoa, said: “Sharing my own story through a Spotify playlist has helped to show the world, but also myself, how strong I am as a person.

“Music has always given me strength. It helped me to escape homelessness, to become a better person, and through this project I hope that it can help other young people to do the same.”

Dave Monk, Publicis London Executive Creative Director, said: “We’ve all been guilty of switching our noise-cancelling mode ‘on’ when it comes to the issue of youth homelessness. What better way to get people to listen than by using the world’s greatest voices to help tell these unheard stories.”

To find out more see The Campaign Hub, which is now live at: https://uk.depaulcharity.org/unheard

Picture: Tom Green performing at the launch event. (Charlotte Medlicott).