Singer and rapper AY Young has spent the last 10 years channeling the power of music and the energy of young people to improve the lives of others in quite a literal way.
The Kansas City native is the creator of the Battery Tour, a concert series that raises money to buy solar-powered battery boxes used to provide renewable electricity to people in developing nations.
He’s used the same boxes to produce all the electricity needed to power his shows.
“What I’ve been able to do is literally power entire concerts, but not just for an hour or 30 minutes, but for eight to 10 hours,” Young recently told The Weather Channel for one of its latest Faces of Change news segments. “I’ve almost powered close to now 900 concerts this way.”
Young’s efforts have earned him recognition from global leaders at the United Nations, who last year added him to their 2020 class of young leaders working towards sustainability development goals.
“I’m one of the young leaders of the world and the only young leader representing the youth of the U.S.,” Young said.
Earlier this year, Young began developing his Global Goals album and roadshow. Scheduled for release in 2022, the album will include 17 songs produced by Young and other artists.
Each song will highlight one of the 17 sustainability goals UN officials established in conjunction with their Project 17 initiative and Agenda 2030 plan. That plan set a series of sustainability benchmarks for global citizens to achieve by the year 2030.
Those benchmarks include strategies for eliminating poverty, ending hunger and reducing inequalities, as well as methods to ensure affordable access to clean energy and clean water.
“I think we need to have music that has the message in the music,” Young said. “Like, why can’t we have the lyrics and the message of the music not be about girls, butts and da da da, you know? Or, ‘Yo, I got a bunch of money’…
“Maybe it’s about collaborating or making this impact or being an outlet for change,” he continued. “And that’s what my music does.”
Young spent much of 2021 spreading his message. In January, he gave a virtual concert performance for President Joe Biden‘s inauguration ball. Earlier this month, he performed at the Hope in a Heated Planet event hosted by TEDxSanFrancisco to promote actions taken to reduce climate change.
“I have this fundamental belief that everyone in the world, whether you’re a company, whether you’re an organization, whether you’re an individual, we’re all outlets for change,” he said. “If everyone’s an outlet, I need to build something to get them plugged in.”
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