TUFF Earth Paves The Road to Memphis: A Melody for Mental Health
On a historic day, June 2, 2023, The Unity of Faiths Foundation (TUFF Earth) proudly launched The Road to Memphis, an international song contest that harmonizes the power of music with mental health awareness. The global launch event was live-streamed to tens of thousands of viewers, connecting Memphis’s Stax Museum’s historic Studio A to Liverpool and the UK Parliament in London. This marked the first time a US city has gone live to the UK Parliament for a project of this nature.
A Symphony of Support
TUFF Earth, headquartered in Liverpool, England, conceived the idea of a global and inclusive song contest that serves as a vehicle to showcase global music cities while promoting mental health within the music and creative community. The Road to Memphis is not just a song contest; it is a beacon of hope and support for musicians and songwriters, providing access to free care sessions.
Memphis, known as the Home of Blues, Soul, and Rock ‘n’ Roll, and now a burgeoning hub for hip-hop and rap, is the host city for the third year of the competition. The contest previously graced Liverpool in 2021 and Nashville in 2022.
Striking a Chord for Mental Health
With The Road to Memphis, TUFF Earth aims to discover original talent by shining a spotlight on the mental health needs of the music and creative community and beyond. The contest is focused on creating connections to mental health through music while showcasing the unique sound and genres produced by the world’s elite music cities.
Finalists in the song contest will have the opportunity to perform in Memphis in November 2023. The inaugural song contest in 2022 witnessed significant engagement, including submissions from 35 countries, 22,421 total song submissions, and more than 3,500 participants who requested and received mental health assistance.
A Crescendo of Voices
The standing-room-only crowd in Stax Museum’s Studio A was treated to leading influencers speaking in front of an impressive video wall staging the live streaming. Among the speakers were Lord Syed Kamall from the House of Lords, UK Parliament; Mayor Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor City of Liverpool; Kevin Kane, President of Memphis Tourism; and Dr. Shamender Talwar & Anna Prior, Co-founders of TUFF Earth.
Lord Syed Kamall poignantly remarked, “Music tugs at your heartstrings. It touches and caresses your soul but also opens your mind. That really shows the power of music, particularly when we come to the issues of mental health.”
Rachel Galloway, His Majesty’s Consul General to South Eastern USA, expressed her excitement and support for the initiative, highlighting the deep psychological impact of music and its role in promoting positive mental health and wellbeing.
Dr. Shamender Talwar & Anna Prior, Co-founders of TUFF Earth, emphasized, “Music has the power to take away the stigma of Mental Health. This project saves lives and we will continue to do so and try to make sure no one slips through the net.”
A Standing Ovation to Our Sponsors
We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the sponsors and supporters of The Road to Memphis, including The City of Memphis, Memphis Tourism, Stax Museum of American Soul Music/Soulsville Foundation, The British Consulate – Atlanta, American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, Royal Studios, Arts Memphis, Liverpool City Council, BBC, and UK House of Lords.
Encore: Get Involved
For more information or to submit a song for this global contest and mental health awareness project, please visit The Road to Memphis.
We, at TUFF Earth, believe in the transformative power of music and its ability to heal. Join us on this melodic journey as we strive to make a difference in the lives of musicians and the broader community through The Road to Memphis.