Burnley-born musician releases Christmas charity single for disadvantaged

A Burnley born musician has released a Christmas charity single to help disadvantaged people across Lancashire.

The University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) music recording label, UCLan Recordings, has released a Christmas charity single written and performed by MA Music Industry Management and Promotion student Paul Wolski.

Profits from the single, Love, Faith, Hope, will go to the Church on the Street Ministries, a North West charity that distributes food aid to disadvantaged people across Lancashire. The organisation also provides recovery and counselling for alcoholics, addicts, and people suffering with mental health issues.

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UCLan student Paul wanted to help the Burnley-based charity after it supported him through his own substance misuse recovery in 2014.

UCLan MA Music Industry Management and Promotion student Paul Wolski (left) with Anthony King, who worked on the song’s orchestral arrangements, piano, keyboards, organs and bass, at a mixing desk in UCLan’s Media Factory.

The 39-year-old, who grew up in Burnley and now lives in Blackpool, was reunited with Pastor Mick Fleming, a former drug addict and gang member who runs Church on the Streets, by chance after seeing the Pastor on BBC News last year discussing poverty issues in Burnley. Paul decided he wanted to help his old mentor and the idea for the charity single was born.

Paul said: “Through recovery I’ve been given a new life, and now I want to help people suffering with addiction through music. If this song can help raise money to positively impact the lives of vulnerable people, then this will be a good thing. It will be an honour to help Pastor Fleming's cause.”

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The song has been almost 25 years in the making as Paul actually wrote Love, Faith, Hope when he was just 15-years-old. He took time out of the music industry to focus on his recovery and now, eight years clean and sober, he has finally recorded his single.

“I feel proud of the track, but there's also a little apprehension because it isn't the typical happy and jolly Christmas song” Paul said.

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Anthony King, who worked on the song’s orchestral arrangements, piano, keyboards, organs and bass, rehearsing the song in UCLan’s Media Factory.

“Rather, it can be dark in places and covers unconventional Christmas themes such as philosophy, morality, drug addiction, self-harm, crime, and poverty. Many parts of the song express the Christmas experience through the eyes of those suffering on the bottom-rung of society's ladder. It’s designed to challenge us into thinking about people other than ourselves.”

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Pastor Fleming, who now dedicates his life to helping society’s most vulnerable people, was Paul’s 12-step sponsor and guided him to recovery.

He said: “To see how far Paul has come is mind-blowing. It’s wonderful to see the progress he has made and how he is now able to give back to others.

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“We work every day with people who struggle through life and Paul’s song reflects this. It is both empowering and heart-warming to see how much love, effort and care Paul has put into a song that will help the Church on the Street Ministries.”

To release the single, Love Faith Hope, Paul worked with chart-topping music producer Lee Monteverdi, an English dance artist and producer famous for the number one hit Take me to the Clouds. He has also produced top-40 remixes for Erasure, Danni Minogue, and Shania Twain.

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Lee said: “'Paul did a great job putting the record together and I was really happy to have been asked to mix it and add some additional production. It's great that it will help the charity.”

“It was good fun working with Lee,” Paul added. “He was incredibly efficient, and I learnt an awful lot from him in a very short space of time. He's a true professional and I'm immensely grateful to have been afforded the opportunity. I wrote this song when I was 15 years old, so it blows me away to finally hear what it sounds like with a full line up of instruments.”

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UCLan Recordings Group is a University based music label with a digital framework to support students, alumni, staff musicians and the local music scene.

Dr Les Gillon, who runs UCLan Recordings Group, said: “This is really inspiring work, and UCLan Recordings is proud to support it. Paul has done a great job in making this record and I’m so glad we were able to bring in Lee Monteverdi to add his particular brand of magic to the production.

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“It’s a great example of academia and the creative industries coming together to raise awareness of a project that helps the most vulnerable in our society.”

Love Faith, Hope, can be downloaded for free; but there is also an option to donate to the cause. Visit the Church on the Street Ministries website for more details or to get involved with the charity.