Burt Bacharach and Rudy Perez knew each other for many years, but only through their music. When a mutual friend introduced them, the two award-winning songwriters eventually met in Los Angeles. They became pals, talked shop and finally, wrote music together. One song, however, pushed them into action.
"We wrote two songs and a piece of what became "Live to See Another Day," which was the last song," recalls Perez. "There were already so many shootings and I told Burt about my concerns about all these children being killed at schools and asked him if he wanted to write something."
Bacharach immediately agreed and when Perez left L.A. and flew back home to Miami, the two kept working on the song by phone.
When it came time to record, Perez reached out to others for support, including music conductor Eduardo Marturet of the Miami Symphony Orchestra. Many names came to mind when thinking about singers such as Ariana Grande and Stevie Wonder, but getting a big star would have taken longer and the two mostly focused on completing the song and then the video.
The song was performed in March at the Miami Design Center with teen singers Haven Star and Angelina Green on vocals. The showcase was part of the Emilio Estefan-produced Palm Court Performances and about 3,000 attended that show, Perez said, adding that it was also recorded.
"I just believe in the power of music and in the message," said Bacharach who is 90 and currently touring around the world. "My hope for the song is that people hear it, see it and feel it. There is hope."
Bacharach, nearly 7 decades in the music business, has 3 Academy Awards, 6 Grammys and has written songs for Dionne Warwick, Dusty Springfield and Elvis Costello, among others. Some of his biggest hits: "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head," "(They Long to Be) Close to You" and the classic "That's What Friends Are For" performed by Warwick, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder and Elton John.
Perez, who has written more than 1,000 songs and has a total of 5 Grammy wins, is known for his straddling both Latin and mainstream worlds. He is one of the founders of the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences as well as a co-founder of the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame. He has written and produced songs for major names such as Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera and Juan Gabriel.
"Live to See Another Day," now available through most major music platforms, is set to raise funds for the Newtown, Connecticut-based Sandy Hook Promise. The nonprofit's mission is to prevent gun-related deaths due to crime, suicide and accidental discharge. According to the organization's site, more than 114,000 people in the U.S. are shot each year and more than 14,000 of those shot are 18 or younger.
Bacharach and Perez said that they made an effort to keep the focus on the song, the children and raising awareness and funds instead of making politics and the gun debate the center point. However, the iconic music makers aren't staying completely quiet.
"I want the song to warm the ice-cold hearts in Washington," Perez said. "I really think that this song can do that because music is powerful. Burt and I just want to make people feel something. Lets wake up. If we come together we can change the world."
"It would have been a mistake to go after the NRA," Bacharach said. "We have to do things like that on our own, politically. The hope now is that people share the song and get the message out."
As the song and video gain traction in the U.S. and beyond, the two songwriters are open to the composition's next arc, which will include more awareness with other projects with information shared on http://livetoseeanotherday.org. Perez said he would like to see a version of the song recorded with an all-star group of artists who united in 1985 to record "We Are the World," which was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie.
Bacharach is open to the idea, but also references to the hit charity song he wrote, "That's What Friends Are For," which raised funds for AIDS research. For now, he said, awareness in hopes of protecting children and others is the focus.
"We're handing the ball to new generations," Bacharach said. "There's high school, then college and these new generations will be able to vote. This is their world and we are kind of handing it over to them."
See “Live to See Another Day” here: