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Street Songs
By Jim Larkins, Orange Coast Magazine

Two of O.C.’s most talented musicians are homeless and their work can be found on “Shelter Me,” a CD just issued by Laguna Beach-based Weed Patch Productions. The project helps fund Friendship Shelter, one of the city’s havens for the homeless. We asked the CD’s creator, health-and-fitness author Scott Hays, about his unusual project.

A CD with homeless performers must have been a tough sell.
The idea really sells itself. I decided to tap into songwriters as a source for inspiration about the issue of homelessness. I tried to secure the best local songwriters I could find, like Jelani Diaz, who I met at the Orange County Rescue Mission in Santa Ana.

How has the community responded?
The amount of support I have received from both the public and the music industry is overwhelming. It also helped that Ivan Spiers, owner of MZB Recording Studio in Tustin, offered us his studio. From this kind gesture, the songwriters and musicians quickly stepped forward.

Do you see the homeless in a different light now?
Someone once said to me, “A homeless person is a homeless person … until you meet one.” Well, I’ve met two extremely talented homeless musicians, David Holland and Jelani Diaz, who’ve taught me what it means to be humble and non-judgmental about people who are going through rough times.

What’s next?
We’re in the process of producing more CDs, including one that will benefit a local battered women’s shelter.

“Shelter Me” is $15 at www.friendshipshelter.org, www.cdbaby.com, or at Laguna Beach retail stores such as Sound Spectrum, Hobie Laguna Beach, Laguna Beach Books, and Latitude 33 Bookshop.

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