New CD featuring Kanye and more to benefit Obama

NEW YORK (AP) - September 19, 2008 "Yes We Can: Voices of a Grassroots Movement," which takes its title from an Obama campaign slogan, features Kanye West, John Legend, Sheryl Crow, Stevie Wonder and others. It will be available for sale exclusively through Obama's campaign starting Friday.

Proceeds from the CD ($24.99 for a digital download, $30 for a physical product) will help fund Obama's campaign until Nov. 4, Election Day, according Hidden Beach Recordings, which created the CD.

Steve McKeever, CEO and founder of Hidden Beach, a longtime Obama supporter, said he had been talking to people within the Obama campaign about a project like "Yes We Can" for a while.

"We had conversations quite some time ago about how to harness what was happening really organically and naturally with so many artists," he said. "The whole concept (was) how do we translate that to inspire and invigorate and also give people a keepsake that they can own while at the same time providing some important capital needed for this campaign."

While most of the songs on the disc have been previously released - such as John Mayer's "Waiting On the World to Change" and Stevie Wonder's classic "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" - a few of the songs are new, including Legend's "Pride in the Name of Love" and "Promised Land," a song by Malik Yusef featuring Kanye West and Adam Levine of Maroon 5.

McKeever said he had more than 150 submissions for the CD.

The "Yes We Can" CD is only the latest musical project inspired by Obama. Earlier this year, an all-star music video featuring Legend, Scarlet Johansson, Kate Walsh, Common, and others, led by the Black Eyed Peas' and titled "Yes We Can," became a viral sensation, garnering millions of views on the Internet. followed that up with another celebrity-filled video, "We Are The Ones."

There also have been songs by amateurs posted regularly on, while other celebrities - including Jay Jay French of Twisted Sister - have sung Obama-inspired songs. Recently, Dave Stewart debuted his own all-star video, "American Prayer," which featured Whoopi Goldberg, Barry Manilow, Forest Whitaker and Cyndi Lauper.

While Republican presidential candidate John McCain has had songs penned for him, such as "Lead the Way" by a lawyer named Judd Kessler, he has not inspired the same groundswell of musical support.

To make sure the CD project met federal campaign standards, McKeever said it went through a rigorous vetting process. The Obama campaign purchased the rights to the CD, he said, declining to name the price. The artists on the CD "are all being compensated as fair market value for their services," he added.

After the election, the CD is due to be released through other outlets and Hidden Beach will reap the profits.

The McCain camp said it had no plans to release a CD of its own and greeted news of Obama's with a dig. "It's ironic that on a day when the economy is in turmoil, Barack Obama fails to release an economic plan, but instead chooses a celebrity rock album," said spokesman Tucker Bounds.

Obama said Friday he was holding off on detailing his plans for the nation's credit crisis because he did not want to risk roiling the markets at such a sensitive time.

Though the CD is to benefit Obama, McKeever said the music on it is not geared specifically toward Democrats.

"I don't think that there's anything on it that's a real partisan message," he said. "The messages I think are quite universal."

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