Give to Live: Song for Donate Life Month Honors Local Hero's Legacy

Joe Acocella, the late town clerk of Harrison, N.Y., who passed away in 2011 at the age of 30 while awaiting a kidney transplant, was an inspiration to everyone he encountered. A double amputee, he never let the obstacles he faced affect his accomplishments, which included becoming the youngest member elected to the Harrison Board of Education and the youngest town clerk in New York state history.

Since his tireless work spanned many initiatives at a breakneck speed, it's a Herculean task to encapsulate Joey's short life. Many journalists and friends have done so in prose, and I was asked by the Acocella family to do so in song (listen to the song here), as a way to both honor his legacy and raise awareness for Donate Life, the organ donor registry initiative (and one of his near-and-dear causes). Joey was the recipient of a kidney transplant at age 18; ten years later, he found himself in need of another transplant to sustain his life.

Your future hangs on a wish You're a name on a list. You deserve another chance, You deserve more than this ...

THE WRITING PROCESS Already a registered organ donor, I was honored to also donate a song, which will be unveiled in a video about Joey's life at the Give to Live Fundraiser on April 26, scheduled to be an annual event to raise money for Donate Life and Joey's other beloved charities, such as animal rescue shelters and support for our troops.

For the song, I collaborated with NYC singer-songwriter Brenda Rudzinski. Together, we delved into the stories of those seeking a second chance at life from those who donate living organs and those who register to give organ, eye and tissue donations when they pass on. The research moved us deeply. We decided to focus on the importance of spreading the word, whether sharing it publicly or sharing with friends and family in a quiet way. Each helps the cause. You can listen to the song here.

Brenda also lent her beautiful voice to the tune, which was recorded by producer Adam Harley at Gnome Music Studio in Larchmont, N.Y. The gorgeous guitar parts were played by Justin Gild. My husband, Thomas Fisher, also contributed to the song's arrangement. This truly was a group effort.

The song was premiered on "Harrison Live" on WVOX on April 19, by Dennis Nardone and his co-host Tonny Guido. We are thrilled to honor Joey's incredible life as well as spread the word about a need that affects so many throughout the world. We hope that the song moves enough people to get those registry numbers up! Kleenex in hand, we look forward to seeing the song paired with the video at the fundraiser.

For more info on organ donation, visit the Donate Life site. To donate to Joey's charities, email joeysfoundation@gmail.com.

Hear the song and read the lyrics on SoundCloud.

And feel free to comment below. Joey was all about making the most noise, so let's help make some noise and carry on his good work!

Spread the word,

Carla

Shout it from the rooftops Make the message heard If you believe in second chances, Share life with the world. It only takes one person at a time who wants to give. Help spread the word and Give to Live ...

New Site, New Music: It Really Does Take a Village (and Sometimes Red Bull)

Wow, the past three weeks have been a whirlwind! After some all-nighters, daily Red Bull (Am I in college again?) and a little help from my friends, I'm happy to announce some exciting developments: First off, not only are you viewing Saidandsung.com's new look, but I also launched a fundraiser on RocketHub.com to get my latest song demo pressed! We made a silly video for the campaign — click below to get a glimpse of what this project is about, how you can help move it forward and how to get your hands on the music:

As of this post, I'm nearly 80 percent toward my goal and I've got just 8 days left to complete it — if you can, please consider sending a Hamilton my way to get your own copy of my tunes and other fun rewards!

Here's Where That Village Part Comes In It really does take a village for big projects to come to fruition. None of this progress would have been possible without the help of the following wonderful people (you may be able to use some of their services for your own projects):

+ S.W. Senek ... The playwright-director and EVP of Eagles Talent (and also a dear friend) conceived, directed, filmed and edited the RocketHub video, and whose son, Sheldon III, plays the role of The Last Hope. Plus, a special shout-out to Sheldon's wife, Krysta, who was so patient as we invaded her home for the shoot. And my goddaughter, Josephine, for being so darn adorable on set!

+ Tricia Okin ... This graphic designer/food blogger/woman-about-world was instrumental in giving me ideas for my video, and basically taught me not to be afraid to ask others for help.

+ Dyana Valentine ... The wily Muse and professional get-you-movin' solutions gal was the one who forced me to name a hard deadline for my Web site launch. And boy, there's nothing like a deadline! She also took the time to interview me about my music and get to the heart of why I'm doing this: because I want to help others embrace life experiences and give themselves permission to feel whatever they need to through my music.

+ Nick Norris ... This principal at identifiDesign not only gave my site a fresh new look, but he also jumped in at the 11th hour to fine-tune the site pre-launch and held my proverbial hand through the switchover!

+ Lauren R. Popek ... A designer with identifiDesign.com, Lauren created not only the cover art for my CD, but also my rebus-infused logo (the fact that I get excited by that reveals my inner nerd, but oh well). You can find more of Lauren's work on her own Web site.

+ Allen Mogol ... What can I say about my copywriting colleague and friend I recently voted Most Likely to Be a Business Coach Someday? Allen kept me focused on the light at the end of the tunnel, helped refine my ideas and gave those all-important Lombardi-esque pep talks that kept me sane!

+ Ted Allen ... My fellow songwriter also had a crowdfunding campaign for his upcoming album, so he consulted on the organization of my campaign and the content. His current album, "Nothing to See Here," is so likable and catchy, I highly recommend you take a listen!

+ Thomas Fisher ... Besides being my co-writer on some of the tunes — and my life partner! — Thomas was immediately on board with the video concept, and really dove into his portion of it. He's a talented performer as well, plus he provided the accompaniment and gorgeous harmonies for the "Send a Hamilton to Harrison" song; I couldn't have done it without him.

+ Adam Harley ... Besides being a recording engineer and producer with the best set of ears in these here parts, Adam is also a great videographer who can create attention-grabbing promotional videos for your business as well as local cable commercials that look anything but local.

+ Mark Buono ... Another skilled recording engineer, producer and wicked drummer, Mark worked his magic on my tunes, adding tracking that enhanced the production and even expertly replicating the acoustics for whenever I'd change up a lyric or an entire section!

+ Craig Wilson & Mat Leland ... These two musicians/songwriters/producers/engineer extraordinaires got the ball rolling on this demo years ago, when they tracked, produced and played on the first versions of these tunes at Haven Studios in NYC. Though the songs have developed over the years, I'm so grateful to Craig Wilson and Mat Leland for their work on this demo as well as for their collective belief in me as a writer.

+ Stephanie Harrison, Christina Lea, Brooke Campbell, Thomas Fisher & Fortune Creek ... The singers who brought their unique styles to these songs are all songwriters themselves, and I know that's why they were each able to give such heartfelt performances. I'm happy to suggest you visit their sites to hear their own work: Stephanie Harrison ("Prettied Up" and "The Clearing"), Christina Lea ("All I Could Do"), Brooke Campbell ("Listening" and "Go On") and Thomas Fisher (solo "Where We Begin" and "Rather Look at You" with Fortune Creek.

+ Randy Merrill ... A sound engineer at the renowned NYC mastering house Master Disk, Randy made my songs on this demo pop, and I mean in that sparkly kind of way. If you need mastering on your tunes, he's your go-to guy.

I've learned so much from all of these fine people, and I thank them from the bottom of my heart for their contributions to this effort. You know what would warm my heart even more? If some of you commented below to let me know that you also remember the TV show "Rags to Riches" — it will make me feel less geeky! (Watch the video above to get my drift.)

Onward,

Carla

P.S. Visit my Tunes page on this site to find out about my new musical that opens in New Jersey this month!