Grammy award-winning artist Lecrae has teamed up with a company that serves incarcerated individuals and gave one inmate the opportunity to record an original song on his music label.
Carmela Mose at Central California Women's Facility (CCWF) won Securus Technologies' first ever "Original Hip-Hop Track Contest" with her original song "I Think."
The contest was open to individuals incarcerated in the Department of Corrections facilities throughout the U.S. and allowed inmates to showcase their musical talents and bring "hope through the power of lyrics."
In July, Lecrae visited CCWF and recorded Carmela's original song "I Think". The song, recorded under Carmela's artist name Good, was then mastered by Lecrae's label Reach Records, creating a once-in-a-lifetime experience and opportunity for both Lecrae and Carmela.
"Recording this track with Carmela onsite at a maximum-security prison facility, which houses many other inspiring women, was an absolutely life-changing experience for me," Lecrae said. "I'm proud to be part of a campaign that invests in those who often feel forgotten, and hopefully this contest will open doors for other creative campaigns to reach the incredible talent behind bars."
"Being given the opportunity to be supported, and listened to, by so many talented visionaries has been a truly humbling experience," Carmela said. "As I sat there recording my track, I felt a stark contrast between the me who was rapping into that mic, and the old me that was sitting on a bus on the way to prison."
Carmela grew up in a broken home in Long Beach, California where she faced violence and abuse, daily. She left that abusive environment at a young age but became homeless, suffered from mental health issues, and battled an addiction to methamphetamines.
While her hardships led her into a life of crime, Carmela is now focused on rehabilitation at the corrections facility.
"I'm grateful for that confirmation," she added. "Thank you so very much to all the folks at Securus, Reach Records, and Lecrae for lifting me up and getting me started on my amends."
Securus Technologies is an Aventiv company that is driving efforts to better serve the incarcerated through rehabilitative justice. The group says this music campaign is an example of its investment in bettering the incarcerated community.
"We knew this campaign would change the life of one lucky winner, but we didn't anticipate the impact Carmela's experience would have on all of us as after we read her lyrics, watched her passion during the recording, and learned of her personal story and battle to become who she is today," said Dave Abel, president and CEO of Aventiv Technologies, the parent company of Securus Technologies.
"The objective of this campaign was to ignite creativity and encourage participants to translate their passion through lyrics," he added. "We are honored to have the opportunity to work with Carmela and all the contest participants and look forward to continuing to host more creative campaigns to bring hope to the incarcerated community."
Carmela's winning song "I Think" is available for free to the incarcerated. For everyone else, it can be purchased through streaming services, such as Spotify.
"Music is part of my soul, and I am humbled to share my gift and create songs that help uplift others," Lecrae said. "Carmela now has that same feeling as her work ethic, talent, and beautifully written lyrics will inspire the lives of so many."
All proceeds from the song made through streaming services benefit the Prison Fellowship, a nonprofit organization working to bring hope and restoration to the incarcerated, their families, and communities impacted by crime and incarceration.