John Beltzer, Songs of Love
Dec 02, 2014 | 11578 views | 0 0 comments | 313 313 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After many years of struggling to make it in the music industry, Forest Hills resident John Beltzer had taken his share of blows, from the tragic loss of his fraternal twin brother Julio in 1984 to being cut out of a full-fledged record deal with co-artist Alana Davis.

But like many success stories, Beltzer found inspiration in turmoil. While he was out walking through his neighborhood shortly after he found out he wouldn’t be signing to a major label, he had an epiphany, and decided that rather than chasing a music career for its own ends, he would use his talent to bring joy to those in dark circumstances of their own.

“I came up with a plan to start a national non-profit creating songs for children who are suffering from illnesses,” Beltzer said. “The idea just popped into my head, just like when a song comes to me. I was like this is so powerful.”

As far as the name goes, he chose to honor his brother, who wrote and recorded a song called “Songs of Love” shortly before his untimely death.

From there, he contacted St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, and the hospital connected him with six children who were suffering from severe illnesses. In four days, he had written and recorded personalized songs for each of them. A few days later, he got a phone call.

“The first song was for Brittany Smith. She was five years old and she had cancer, and her mom called me and said, ‘Someone wants to talk to you,’” Beltzer said. “With the cutest little voice she said 'thank you for my song.'”

In that moment, Beltzer knew he had made the right move.

Now, 18 years and almost 25,000 songs later, Beltzer continues to provide tangible, therapeutic support to hospitalized children around the world through his work with over 500 songwriters.

“When you look under the hood of what we’re doing, it’s an actual functional therapeutic tool,” Beltzer said. “It’s a gift that lasts forever.”

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