Singer aims to help world's hungry
Nelson singer-songwriter Aly Cook has joined the ranks of Celine Dion, Michael Jordan, Jon Voight, Evander Holyfield, Bo Derek, Muhummad Ali, Buzz Aldrin and Steven Seagal in being named a "luminary" supporter of a charity seeking to end world hunger.
Cook is now a "Champion" for Global Village, an international group working with other volunteer and non-government organisations to feed poverty-stricken people around the world.
It is another recent accolade for Cook, a self-managed, independent country crossover musician. Together with Nelson race walker Nyle Sutherland, she is among the 25 national finalists for this year's Next Magazine New Zealand Woman of the Year Awards.
Global Village, in existence for 18 years, counts 42 "champions" as public supporters, and Cook is the first New Zealander to become one.
She was in illustrious company, she said. "They choose people who are different kinds of figureheads for different reasons. It's a small organisation that works as a team providing support for meals and helping out wherever possible. They do a good job of feeding millions of children."
Her role was to raise awareness, and she said it was her skill with social networking that landed her the job. She's now charged with spreading the word about the charity online. "It's an honour and I'm there to help in my way."
Cook has thousands of international contacts on social-network platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and fan fundraising sites such as Sellaband. Through them, she raised US$20,000 in four months to pay for her album Brand New Day. "That's the thing with social networking now.
"You can become more of an entity online than people around you realise. You start to become powerful when you post something and it reaches thousands of people instantly."
Because of her success in crowd-sourcing funds, Cook has become something of a media maven on the topic. She was recently invited to speak at a seminar on social networking for artists when she performs at the Canberra Country Music Festival in November, passing on her tips to others.
Cook has also recently contributed to a CD fundraising for the Christchurch earthquake, We Will Rise Again, that has garnered $9000 for Red Cross.
The Nelson Mail