by Wayne Lewis and Angela Liu
Fans of movies and television may be familiar with the sound of Kari Kimmel’s voice. The songwriter and recording artist has contributed more than 100 songs to stories on the big and small screens, including the animated blockbuster “Wall*E” and ABC medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Kimmel recently lent that ubiquitous voice to a cause close to her heart — the effort to cure and prevent cancer. Her song “Great Big World” provides the soundtrack for a new public service announcement promoting Walk for Hope Nationally Presented by Staples, City of Hope’s series of fundraising walks targeting women’s cancers.
“Cancer has affected my loved ones, so this is something I really wanted to be involved with,” she said.
The great-granddaughter and niece of breast cancer survivors, Kimmel saw firsthand the toll cancer can take. When she was 9 years old, her best friend developed a brain tumor. The situation seemed so grave that doctors started to prepare Kimmel for the possible death of her friend. Fortunately, her friend beat the disease, and Kimmel helped see her through.
“I stayed with her at home, and I can remember having to sleep on the couch because she was hooked up to a machine that beeped every few seconds,” she said. “I believed she would be fine. Today, we’re still best friends.”
A pop songstress inspired by singer-songwriters like Carole King and James Taylor, Kimmel released her third album, “Out of Focus,” independently in April. Disco’s Gloria Gaynor and pop band the Backstreet Boys also have recorded her songs.
She first learned about City of Hope when a friend invited her to the Music and Entertainment Industry group’s 2008 Spirit of Life® gala honoring Doug Morris, chairman and chief executive officer of Universal Music Group. The event culminated an industry fundraising initiative that garnered more than $10 million to support City of Hope.
Kimmel befriended City of Hope employees at the gala and kept in touch with them, hoping for a chance to help the institution. This year’s Walk for Hope proved to be the perfect opportunity.
“We were so excited and delighted when Kari offered to share her wonderful song ‘Great Big World’ to promote Walk for Hope,” said Fran Rizzi, senior director of communications. “It’s such a catchy, uplifting song — it truly captures the feeling of hope that motivates thousands of walkers and supporters.”
Kimmel finds the partnership rewarding as well.
“It’s really exciting to help promote raising money and awareness for the battle against women’s cancers. It makes the rest of what I’m doing matter more,” said Kimmel.
The Walk for Hope public service announcement can be viewed at www.youtube.com/cityofhopeonline. Kari Kimmel’s music is available at www.karikimmel.com.