A rallying cry for education for girls
Education is a basic human right and there is no better investment in our world’s future than the investment in a girl’s education.
Gates Cambridge Scholar Andrea Pizziconi gave the world premiere of her new global anthem Let Us Dance at an event to celebrate the 25th anniversary of a leading international NGO for girls’ education last week.
Andrea - who goes by the name of Drea as an artist - took part in the CAMFED ‘Education Changes Everything’ Gala where she performed “Let Us Dance”, a global anthem she wrote and produced, featuring Maimouna Youssef and the Dap-Kings. All 2019 proceeds of the song will go towards CAMFED and their mission to eradicate poverty in Africa through the education of girls and the empowerment of young women. CAMFED leadership say the song is a rallying cry for people to step up behind educated young women leading change.
Andrea  says: “Education is a basic human right and there is no better investment in our world’s future than the investment in a girl’s education. But the barrier for women to reach their potential remains high. I wrote this song for all the girls out there who won’t give up and want to tell the world ‘Get ready…we’re coming.’”Fourteen representatives from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Ghana and Malawi attended CAMFED’s first ever Gala in New York to share their stories and perform ‘Let Us Dance’. The group includes Ruka, an entrepreneur and former Mandela Washington Fellow; Lilian, a child safeguarding expert; and Malumbo, a leader in climate-smart agriculture. During their time in the US, the young women joined Andrea to create the music video for ‘Let Us Dance'
Andrea started her career as a solo singer at the age of 14, performing around the globe as a featured artist throughout her teenage years and into adulthood. Her musical career was highly successful, but the experiences she had while travelling internationally ignited in her a passion for social justice. After completing her MPhil in Land Economy at the University of Cambridge as a Gates Cambridge Scholar, she dedicated herself to building schools in parts of the world where doing so seemed impossible, creating the social impact investment company Africa Integras to finance and develop large-scale education infrastructure in Africa.
While building her business, music fell by the wayside for several years until colleague and friend Elliot Washor asked her to sing a jazz concert to raise money for Big Picture Learning. It raised $55,000 in one night. The response was overwhelming. Over two months Andrea pulled together a sold-out show at one of NYC's top cabaret venues. This experience convinced her that she could combine her passion for music and social justice for the greater good.
Soon after, she recruited the renowned trumpeter Keyon Harrold to join her in forming Compositions for a Cause, a record label dedicated to creating and producing socially conscious music. Their inaugural song, “Running” (AKA Refugee Song) was recorded by Grammy-winning artists Gregory Porter and Common. The song was named Billboard’s top single to inspire hope and change in 2016 with proceeds supporting Refugees International.
Andrea, whose music blends genres from soul and jazz to blues, rock and pop, went on to executive produce songwriter Harrold’s 2017 album "The Mugician”. On that album, she wrote “Circus Show”, featuring Gary Clark Jr, which has been recognised internationally as a leading protest anthem.
Her latest composition, “Let Us Dance”, is a rarity in the music industry - there are few women who have composed, arranged and produced an entire work featuring another female artist and lyricist. It comes on the heels of the growing #metoo movement. Andrea will continue to release activist-themed single records leading up to an EP release later in 2019.
Andrea’s new song can be downloaded here.
Picture credit: Shervin Lainez