In this season's extended YouTube episode, host Abigail Wright sat down with soprano Camille Zamora, co-founder and co-executive director of Sing for Hope. Here's what she had to say:
Sing for Hope is a group of over 2,000 artists who bring their talent and "a shot of hope" to those who need it most. Abby and Camille sat among some of their annual street pianos, designed by local artists, that went out among the NYC parks this summer and now are being used by local schools. Sing for Hope placed their 400th piano this summer, and they bring the community together, support artists, and allow artists to give their gifts to schools, hospitals, AIDS hospices, veteran hospitals, senior centers and more.
Through Sing for Hope's channel of giving through the medium of art, Camille shared that she has found her most authentic self. Community volunteerism and performing are parts of her balanced diet, as she feels a calling to share creativity in social justice work, perform as a singer, and enjoy parenting her son.
She discussed how Sing for Hope evolved out of a need to respond to tragedies such as 9-11, AIDS, and Hurricane Katrina. Their long-term dream is to own a space - a centralized hub to support all of their activity.
Her goals? To continue to support her son's dreams (from whom she learns so much), to continue to sustain and support Sing for Hope, and to further her goals as a singer - including classical Spanish repertoire, such as her touring pops show, Tango Caliente, featuring bandoneon and dancers.
After speaking about her mentors and how they've taught her about the power of artistic habits of mind, she discussed her role as a speaker at this changing moment of the arts and culture landscape. Some people question arts volunteerism, and to them she said that art is an enormous currency. "Like any currency, you should earn some of it, and you might enjoy giving it away," Camille suggested - a different kind of stretching one's talent. She believes that arts and culture should be included in the conversation surrounding social change, especially for large scale systemic change and educational revamping.
As an artist, Camille discussed success as achieving authenticity of communication, whatever the medium, and how she found her artistic authenticity from a young age until now.
What habits and traits lead to her happiness and success?
Exercise, a love of good food and friends, simple pleasures, and mindfulness of the innate joy that can be found in the simple moments.
What would she like the world to see differently?
We all sell ourselves short. Access to creativity and expression is one profound way to allow our potential to bloom, to allow ourselves to be greater, and "to excavate the imagination." "Live bigger," she says.
Any other advice for us?
Nobody gets through life unscathed. Know that the wounds are part of it, but also the beauty and the humor of the everyday can allow you to generate joy.