“It’s very uplifting,” he says of “Stand Up to Cancer,” which he started writing and recording on his laptop in bed right after awakening one morning.
“You don’t really hear the word sung out or spoken out loud a lot. Cancer, putting the word in a song, is a very powerful thing for people recovering from cancer or in treatment.”
Stewart did the song for the latest campaign by Stand Up to Cancer, which raises awareness of the disease and money to help speed research into new treatments. He created several versions, including one with violinist Anne Marie Calhoun, his co-writer.
The disease has hit friends and his mother, Stewart says, adding, “I think everyone is kind of surrounded by it.”
Stand Up 2 Cancer on Demand debuted this week for Comcast cable households and features music videos on demand from more than 60 artists including Alicia Keys, Bruce Springsteen and Lady Gaga.
Viewers, who are encouraged to donate to the cause, can also see highlights of a spot directed by filmmaker Jesse Dylan, who created will.i.am’s “Yes We Can” video. The full video, with stars including Renee Zellweger, Josh Groban, and Mandy Moore, debuts next month.
Stewart’s tune, which he also recorded with Joss Stone, is used elsewhere in the TV campaign and online.
A program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, Stand Up to Cancer was founded by people in media, entertainment and other fields whose lives have been affected by the disease. The group, which last year aired a telethon on three major TV networks, says it has raised more than $100 million from corporate and other donors.
Meryl Streep, Jon Stewart and Salma Hayek are among other stars taking part in Stand up 2 Cancer on Demand.