A group of refugees have joined forces with music students to compose a charity single they hope will become the Christmas number one.
The track, entitled “Whatever You Believe”, is performed by a mix of refugees and young people from the Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM).
It is released as part of the I Speak Music project, which saw displaced young people join musicians and members of the local community to record music, then sold to help raise funds for projects that help refugees settle in their host communities.
“When I first came to the UK, the first six months were very difficult because I couldn’t speak English and I didn’t know anybody,” 18-year-old Amer, who features on the track and migrated to the UK from Syria, told Sky News.
“Everything was different – the people, the houses, the streets. I didn’t have any friends because I didn’t speak the language. The food was difficult, the house was difficult too because it was small.”
He called the single “fantastic” and added: “I would really like to thank the people who’ve made it possible for me to be here and sing. In the future, there will be more and more. We’ll not just be in the UK – we’ll be in the US too and the rest of the world.”
Kayte Cable, a trustee of Big Leaf Foundation, which backed the single, said: “It’s important to help specifically displaced people who have arrived to the UK from war-torn countries. I think it’s quite well documented about the horrific journeys these people have to take to get here – but once people arrive here, the physical journey stops but the rest of it doesn’t. The settling and integration can be quite stressful.”
Other competitors for the Christmas top spot include Ariana Grande, Ava Max, Miley Cyrus and Mark Ronson, and Anne-Marie and James Arthur.
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