Musician Uses Social Platforms to Raise Awareness… Leading up to a July 25 Fundraiser
Joe DeJesu, a Huntington-based musician, recently arranged an original song for United Way of Long Island to inspire hope and bring positivity during these difficult times. His song, titled United Together (We Will Survive), accompanies a poignant video demonstrating United Way’s continued efforts to help those impacted by COVID-19 – including healthcare responders, families, mothers with newborns, seniors, and individuals who are unemployed. Joe’s dedication to helping others, as well as his commitment to the not-for-profit’s mission, is a testament to the goodwill of the Long Island community.
The video, featuring DeJesu’s original song, has been integrated into the organization’s marketing and fundraising campaigns, including United Way’s workplace strategy in which companies participate in a payroll deduction program in support of the organization. Current top workplace campaigns include: GEICO, UPS, National Grid, Suffolk Transportation Service, Inc., PSEG Long Island, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Macy’s Costco, Enterprise, Petro, Target Corporation and TD Charitable Foundation.
In early April when DeJesu was approached with the idea to write a song for United Way of Long Island, he was eager to have a platform to showcase his talents in support of his community, “Long Island is my home. If there is anything I can do to help, I’ll jump at the opportunity.”
“Joe’s original song is a true gemstone of a fundraising asset for our organization. We are pleased to collaborate with local musician Joe DeJesu, who exemplifies our motto to Live United and help uplift our neighbors,” said Theresa A. Regnante, President & CEO of United Way of Long Island.
United Together (We Will Survive) was originally a gift for DeJesu’s wife, Eri. With strengthened appreciation for his family, Joe wrote the lyrics wanting to bring love and positivity to the coronavirus crisis. As a result, he realized his song held the perfect message to lift the spirits of his fellow Long Islanders: “We will survive this crazy time; with each day, a little better. And when the sun begins to shine, we know we’ll always be united together.”
Given unusual recording conditions, DeJesu recorded the song from the safety of his home. “It’s difficult to be apart [from my bandmates] creatively, but eventually the pieces all fell into place.” To assist in the recording and production of the song, Joe reached out to his friends, Huntington-based instrumentalist Kenny Friedman (Kenny Friedman Music) who recorded piano for the song and longtime producer and multi-instrumentalist Bob Stander (Parcheesi Studios) who produced the song. DeJesu was pleasantly surprised at the success of the end result, given that the recording was done entirely remotely and without collaborating in person. As they worked through adjusting to using new technology, along with the laborious process of sending song edits back and forth, the final version of the song came together.
Musical mentor and longtime friend of DeJesu, Mike DelGuidice, Singer/Songwriter and Billy Joel band member comments, “A song like this can only produce beautiful results. Especially when it comes from the heart of a songwriter that is channeling his deepest emotions into the lyric. When songs are written in that manner, the people who listen get equally as affected and can feel the exact sentiment of the writer.” He added, “[Joe’s] generosity and his selflessness knows no bounds. There have been numerous things that he has done for me on his own without asking. He has a beautiful demeanor, great sense of humor, and a heart that feels everything around him. A true empath.”
As COVID-19 has changed DeJesu’s ability to perform, he is now using social media as his main platform to reach his audience. To celebrate his 40th birthday on July 25, leading up to that date DeJesu is hosting a Facebook fundraiser to benefit United Way of Long Island. In addition, Joe streams live shows and jam sessions on his Facebook page, and includes a link through which people can contribute to United Way, supporting the recovery of the region and its most vulnerable populations.
Joe DeJesu’s thoughtfulness towards his community stems from the understanding that this health crisis has had varying levels of impact on every Long Islander. “When we’re all stuck in the house, it’s hard to think about what others are going through. It’s easy to forget that we need to rely on each other. What better time is there to help out than now?”
The song United Together (We Will Survive) has helped raise funds for United Way to address the most urgent needs of families across Nassau and Suffolk Counties, including helping unemployed and furloughed workers; frontline responders; as well as new moms giving birth during the crisis. Funds raised will continue to support crucial programs and services, especially for seniors, as the Long Island region begins to recover from the pandemic.
To watch United Together (We Will Survive) and to make a contribution to United Way of Long Island, visit www.unitedwayli.org/unitedtogetherwewillsurvive.
To follow Joe DeJesu on Facebook, visit www.facebook.com/joedejesumusic.
Photo 1 – Huntington musician Joe DeJesu performs. Photo Credit: Marianne P. Stone Photo
Photo 2 – Joe and his family: wife Eri and daughters Melody and Lyric
Photo 3 – Producer & multi-instrumentalist Bob Stander of Parcheesi Studios
Photo 4 – Instrumentalist Kenny Friedman of Kenny Friedman Music
MORE ABOUT JOE DEJESU
Born, raised and still living in Huntington, DeJesu was regularly surrounded by music growing up. Inspired by the array of genres played in his home, he formed his musical career in his early twenties, performing at venues in Manhattan and across the country. After nearly a decade of performing, DeJesu decided to follow a more traditional career path. During his ten-year musical hiatus, he studied law and became an attorney in the real estate business. However, with the support of his family, and due to the extra time recently provided by working from home, Joe has been able to reconnect with his music and pursue songwriting intensively.
DeJesu credits his transition back to his music career to Mike DelGuidice, Singer/Songwriter and Billy Joel band member. DelGuidice offered DeJesu to open for Big Shot at The Paramount and since that concert, Joe DeJesu has continued to perform live at Long Island and New York City venues.
Before the pandemic, DeJesu hosted his own radio show, J.A.M. Joe’s Acoustic Mondays on Govs Comedy Club Radio, during which he both interviewed and played music with local artists. Under the new circumstances, he continues to host the show from his home accompanied by the musical talent of his family, including his wife, Eri, and daughters Lyric and Melody. With three singles produced in the last six months, he is continuing to work on original music with the goal of putting together a full-length album.