Leading Musicians Make Christmas Album For Plunket

Press Release – New Zealand Plunket Society

Eleven leading New Zealand musicians come together on a very special album celebrating Christmas to raise funds for Plunket.
MEDIA RELEASE: Tuesday 29 September

STRICTLY EMBARGOED TO 6PM TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER

Leading NZ Musicians Feature on Album To Raise Funds for Plunket

Eleven leading New Zealand musicians come together on a very special album celebrating Christmas to raise funds for Plunket.

Merry Christmas Baby features Christmas-themed tracks from musicians and bands as diverse as Opshop, Jordan Luck, Jackie Clarke, House of Shem, Annie Crummer, Whirimako Black, Shona Laing, Kirsten Morrell, Nathan King, Monique Rhodes and Hollie Smith, and was tonight launched at a special function in Auckland.

The idea for the album was initiated by France-based NZ singer/songwriter Monique Rhodes while she was on tour with Shona Laing last year.

Monique and Shona were in Rotorua at the time of the sentencing in the Nia Glassie trial and that day picked up a teenage hitchhiker who was trying to get to Tauranga to visit her baby on his second birthday. Moved by the teenage mother’s story, Monique vowed she would try to help New Zealand children and families.

“I made a promise to myself to do whatever I could, if the opportunity arose, to make a positive difference to the lives of families,” says Monique. “After all, if we don’t help families who will look after our children?”

Monique wrote the song ‘Forever Strong’ which she has gifted to Plunket, and wrangled a roll call of New Zealand artists into recording songs for Merry Christmas Baby which goes on sale throughout New Zealand on Monday October 12.

The album, produced at Auckland’s York St Studios, features a mix of Christmas and family themed and all but three are originals – the three covers are stunning versions of ‘O Holy Night’ (Nathan King), ‘Light of the Stable’ (Jackie Clarke) and ‘White Christmas’ (Whirimako Black).

“Everyone involved in this album from artists and producers to designers, distribution agents and promoters have given so much of their time and talents and we hope the New Zealand public will get behind us all to support the album,” says Carol Becker, Royal New Zealand Plunket President. “Money raised through the sales of this album will stay in the areas where it is purchased to help local communities and deliver the types of support most relevant to the individual areas.”

Artists involved in the project have all spoken about the importance Plunket has played in their lives.

“I remember how just a few reassuring words from the Plunket nurse really made my day and totally boosted my confidence as a first time mum,” says Jackie Clarke. “New Zealand would not be New Zealand without Plunket. Getting a good start in the world is so important and I’m thrilled to be part of such a lovely project and amongst such wonderful talent.”

Merry Christmas Baby will be available at all good music retailers and through all Plunket offices nationwide. For more information or to buy online visit www.merrychristmasbaby.co.nz

Attached is Monique Rhodes’ story. High resolution images are available and artists are available for interview. For more information please contact: Sally Woodfield | Publicist | 021 868 020| swpr@ihug.co.nz

Merry Christmas Baby Track Listing

Nathan King – O Holy Night

Opshop – No Room, No View (Only You)

Jordan Luck Band – Barbie Dolls for Baghdad

Hollie Smith – I Will Do

Kirsten Morrell – Melody Bells

Jackie Clarke – Light of the Stable

Annie Crummer – Let It Shine

Whirimako Black – White Christmas

Shona Laing – One Child

House of Shem – What About the Children

Monique Rhodes – Forever Strong
FROM THE ARTISTS

“I’m so grateful to have been a Plunket baby – such tremendous help for my mum” – Annie Crummer

“I was a Plunket baby and I think my mum still has my book…I know that , living where we lived, Plunket was a ‘life-saver’ for her!

“My children too have had the benefit of Plunket care and so I have a huge regard and respect for the organisation that provides this essential and timeless service for the mothers of NZ and I sincerely hope that our gift of these songs will ensure that Plunket carries on its wonderful work for many years to come!” – Victor Stent, CEO/Producer, LOCAL MUSIC (House of Shem)

“I was recently a guest at a Plunket conference and what struck a chord with me was the army of unpaid volunteers out there keeping this amazing service alive, thriving and free for all Kiwi mums. I met a great bunch of women from all walks of life and they’re the heart and soul or Plunket.

“It took me back to having my first baby and those feelings of fear and trepidation you have when you realise you’re utterly responsible for a new tiny human being. I remember how just a few reassuring words from the Plunket nurse really made my day and totally boosted my confidence as a first time mum. New Zealand would not be New Zealand without Plunket. Getting a good start in the world is so important.

“I’m thrilled to be part of such a lovely project and amongst such wonderful talent. My twin sister Robyn and I were Plunket babies, my partner Grant was a Plunket baby (in fact we still have his Plunket book from the 1960s) and my boys are Plunket babies.” – Jackie Clarke

“Our son, Tyler, is a Plunket Baby. We are very thankful for the wonderful assistance we received from the caring Nurse from Plunket. Full Loving, Jordan” – Jordan Luck

We’re so lucky to have an organisation like Plunket helping New Zealand families to have happy babies and happy mums.” – Kirsten Morrell

“I first got the chance to perform ‘O Holy Night’ at Christmas in the Park in Auckland in 2005. It might have been the incredible sound of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra behind me, or just the fact that this song is pure magic when 200,000 people are singing along, but as the huge crescendo swelled I knew if the chance to record it came along I couldn’t say no… Enter Plunket and ‘Merry Christmas Baby’!
“If you’ve purchased this album, then on behalf of Plunket I want to say THANK YOU! If you’ve received it as a gift, give the person who gave it to you a big Christmas hug from me… and the thousands of little ones around New Zealand who will all benefit.” – Nathan King

“Plunket is awesome. I’ve become a dad this year and we started our involvement with Plunket through ante-natal classes and now see Plunket regularly. We’re doing courses as well and it’s great to know we have that support.” – Clint Harris, Opshop

“My Mum would always say that Plunket was a wonderful thing that kept mums going through the tough times. The Plunket nurse can be such welcome relief and reassurance when you’ve got a brand new little baby, even just hearing the name ‘Plunket’ conjures up pictures of fat, healthy babies and happy kiwi mums.”

“Plunket helps young families keep their world turning when a new baby’s turned it all upside down and mum’s never seem to forget how much it means to have someone walking alongside you through that journey.” – Shona Laing

“I would really love to have my whole family with me on Christmas Day – my children, my siblings, my parents, my nephews and nieces, and my cousins. This was how it was – once upon a time. But today our realities can be of separation; due to work commitments, unresolved issues, death, and even the challenge of not been able to afford a huge gathering of family. So, the best thing I could do as a singer is get involved and record a Christmas song for all families to enjoy every moment they are together. Meri Kirimete everyone!” – Whirimako Black

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