Holiday Gift Guide 2016: amfAR’s Benefit Album, The Time Is Now

Hark: A Call to Action
A&U’s Sean Black chats with Michelangelo Lacqua, one of the producers of amfAR’s The Time Is Now

amfar-cover-2Recall when Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder crooned “That’s What Friends Are For?” in 1985, raising millions for amfAR?

Harkening back to the decade when amfAR first started its AIDS-focused research, a new compilation (fourteen tracks) of reimagined 1980s songs by contemporary artists, The Time Is Now, offers a present-day testament to the nonprofit’s commitment to ending AIDS in our lifetime with the hopes of attracting today’s younger, progressive generation.

Performing as a deejay and music supervisor for nearly a decade now for amfAR at their signature Cannes, Milan, and NYC gala events, Michaelangelo Lacqua steps up his level of commitment by joining production forces with acclaimed music curator Andy Boose and Peter Bittenbender, CEO of Mass Appeal along with Republic Records.

“I have a personal attachment to amfAR and to AIDS research, says Lacqua in a recent phone interview with A&U’s Sean Black. “One of my best friends and mentors whom I have known for thirteen years is HIV-positive and his personal trials and tribulations that go with the disease became very personal to me as well.”

Over the years, Lacqua has wanted to do more. “I was manifesting my desire to support AIDS research [further] so when the opportunity to create a benefit album came about I jumped at it, in fact I pursued it. Deejaying is great in supporting the events but I wanted to help amplify through music, messaging to inspire a younger generation that knows nothing [or very little] about AIDS or how people are living today through this epidemic. I am forty-five, so the ’80s were very real to me.”

Lacqua believes that through music you can create a call to action that involves passion. “When you are inspired by music it opens your mind in a way that no other medium can. But in truth, we hope that by the year 2020 we’ve already found the cure and we are just living in the celebration.”

Tell Me More: The album features New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle” performed by Sugar for Sugar, made up of Scarlett Johansson, Julia Haltigan, Holly Miranda and Kendra Morris. Dita Von Teese and Sebastien Tellier take on Culture Club’s “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me.” Chaos Chaos puts its spin on Tom Tom Club’s “Genius of Love.” Other performers include Lower Dens, Yuna, Theophilus London, LP, Marian Hill, Aloe Blacc, DNCE, Bebel Gilberto, Phantogram, Metric, and Brazilian Girls. Album cover artwork was designed exclusively for amfAR by British artist Tracey Emin. Who Benefits: amfAR, one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and advocacy, has invested $450 million in its programs and has awarded more than 3,300 grants to research teams worldwide. Supported in part by the Foundation for AIDS and Immune Research (FAIR), a round of research grants totaling approximately $1.4 million was awarded by amfAR to investigate why HIV persists in reservoirs in the presence of antiretrovirals and new avenues for developing a cure. How Much: $11.99. How to Purchase: The album is available on various music service platforms. Log on to:

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