Music That Makes a Difference 2018

Music That Makes a Difference 2018

CNN Music & Art

Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson

CNN Music & Art

Eddie Van Halen donates guitars to public schools

Eddie Van Halen

CNN Music & Art


Jared Leto – Thirty Seconds to Mars

America. Land of the free. Home of the brave. Possibility, potential, dreams realized.

That’s the good.

Then, there’s the bad, even ugly:

Political tension, racial and economic division, drugs, guns and war.

Thirty Seconds to Mars’ ambitious new project tackles it all… head on.

The group’s new album, “America,” is its first material in five years — a conceptual record about life in the United States… warts and all.

Jared Leto New York 1

“It’s social. It’s personal. It’s emotional. It’s creative and fun — provocative, at times.” lead singer Jared Leto told CNN.

“This is a new chapter for Thirty Seconds to Mars and ‘America’ is a very heavy-handed title, especially in the times we’re living in now.”

The music is equally powerful and polished — raw messaging of American imperfection impeccably produced and wrapped in a hopeful tomorrow.

The lead single, “Walk on Water,” serves as an anthem to freedom. Leto’s commanding vocals implore listeners to stand up and fight for your beliefs.

jared leto l.a. 1Can you even see what you’re fighting for?
Bloodlust and a holy war
Listen up, hear the patriots shout
“Times are changing”
In the end, the choice was clear
Take a shot in the face of fear
Fist up in the fiery light
Times are changing

Sesay Leto Pretape 3

Hundreds of unique album covers, promotional billboards and snipes serve as 2018 American time capsules.

They feature colorful lists of descending words from American names to top trademarks, dangerous sports, and even sex positions.

“If you were to look back on these lists ten, twenty, thirty, fifty, one hundred years from now, I think you’d get a sense of the times that we’re living in and culture that we’re all apart of,” Leto said.

Jared Leto Austin

To promote the launch of “America,” Leto set out on a cross-country odyssey — retracing his teenage journey as an art school dropout from New York who wound up sleeping on the beaches in Venice, California, with just his backpack in tow.

“It’s a classic journey from East to West,” Leto said. “I got a chance to visit states that we’re going to be playing shows at for our tour in June and July. I got on the streets. I got in front of people.”

He used many means to make the trek: trains, planes, automobiles, hitchhiking, Greyhound bus, Lyft rides, NASCAR pit stops, bicycles and more.

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JARED 1Along the way, Leto talked to a trucker in Milwaukee who was shipping Harley Davidsons, Native Americans at a Navajo reservation in Arizona and foster children in Texas.

Leto called it the trip of a life time. “What surprised me was the optimism that’s still out there,” he told CNN.

“I see a lot of unity out there. If you looked at the news, you obviously get a sense of the conflict in the country. You get a sense of the uncertainty, the debate and the discussion about what’s going on. But when you cross the country, I think you see that we have a lot more in common than may be expected.”

Leto and his bandmates will embark on the North American leg of their tour in June performing in many of the cities he visited during his Mars Across America journey.

Asked what he wants to leave his live audiences with, Leto said, “If I had my way, I would love people to feel good. I would love people to feel some sense of possibility.

“I think when people come to a concert and there’s ten or twenty thousand people in a room sharing the same idea, that’s very unique, especially in the times we’re living in — you get a big group of people agreeing on something.

“I hope people leave with a sense of excitement that they had a night that they’ll never forget. I work very hard every night to make sure that that happens.”

Written and produced by: Ben Bamsey for “CNN Newsroom L.A.”

jared leto l.a. 3

leto 2In June, one week after CNN’s Anthony Bourdain died by suicide, Leto came back on the show to talk about his newly released single, “Rescue Me” — a song about pain, faith, empowerment and the battle millions fight each day against fear, depression and anxiety.

Leto wrote the song based on his own personal battles. He’s most certainly not alone.

A new report from the U.S. Center for Disease Control found that suicide rates in the United States have gone up a staggering 25% since 1999.

Nearly 45,000 Americans aged 10 or older died by suicide in 2016 alone. More than half of them did not have a known mental health condition.

“It’s horrific. It’s a tragedy. It shouldn’t be that way,” Leto said of the statistics. “We live in a time when we’re more connected than ever and there should be more of a sense of community… because of the ability to be social and the ability to reach out to people.

“But it’s also a time when there’s quite a bit of instability, uncertainty and conflict. It’s  very difficult time for many people around the world.”

leto 1

Millions of people have viewed “Rescue Me” just 48 hours after the video dropped. It’s a video void of tricks. Just people of all walks of life with various physical and mental ailments expressing themselves to the song.

“I stood on stage last night,” Leto said, “and I asked how many people have dealt with pain, anxiety or depression — there were probably 10 to 15,000 people there… 90% of the room raised their hand.

“So many of us deal with these issues. Sometimes we don’t know where to turn and I’m glad that people are having a conversation online about the song and the video and sharing their experience — both how they overcome challenges and maybe about the challenges that they’re in the midst of.”

In addition to the lyrics in the song, Leto said that he’d like to say the following to all those who raised their hand, “You’re not alone. And then, I’d probably offer to listen. I think that so many people need to be heard.

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“A lot of people don’t know where to turn to. That’s why I wrote this song. Because it was on my mind. It was part of my life. But ultimately this song is a celebration It’s about the possibility of overcoming anxiety, depression and pain. It’s about the freedom from the bondage of self and walking towards the more positive and a future that we all dream about.

“We have the power to offer each other kindness, support, community, friendship and the world would be a beautiful place if we focus a little more on that and a little less on some of the other things out there.”

Written & Produced by: Ben Bamsey for “CNN Newsroom L.A.” with help from Alexandra Meeks and Isha Sesay

ben & leto

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