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Breathe With Me music video reaches the semi-final of UK Songwriting Contest

PUBLISHED: 11:45 03 December 2014 | UPDATED: 11:45 03 December 2014


A music video for a song about living with cystic fibrosis has reached the semi-final stage of the prestigious UK Songwriting Contest.


The Breathe With Me music video has featured strongly in Hampshire this year, as one of the supporter led initiatives to mark the Cystic Fibrosis Trust’s 50th anniversary in 2014.

The song received the backing of Hampshire’s alcohol-free festival Butserfest in September, when the track was played from the main stage while festival goers took selfies of themselves breathing through a straw – an action that emulates the reduced lung function experienced by many people who have cystic fibrosis.

The Breathe With Me music video was played at the Victorious Festival, Southsea and is currently being played on an hourly rotation on the Big Screen in Guildhall Square, Portsmouth. A clip of the video was also featured on Channel 5’s live coverage of the Great South Run, Southsea in October, with many participants in the race running for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

The song, first performed live at the CF Trust 50th anniversary Vintage Tea Party at the Tithe Barn, Ditcham, has also led to an ongoing social media campaign in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

The Breathe With Me Strawfie Challenge asks people to try breathing in the way that a person with the disease may experience. By breathing through a narrow straw, while pinching their nose, people can get some sense of what it feels like to have reduced lung function.

The idea of the campaign is for people to take a selfie while they are trying the straw breathing experience and post their ‘straw breathing selfie’ or ‘strawfie’ online. They then make a donation by texting BWCF64 £(amount) to 70070 or by using the ‘donate’ button on the website and nominate three friends to do the same.

The video for the song Breathe With Me by TWF featuring annaJo, was filmed at Alice Holt Forest, near Bordon, Hampshire on a cold, wet and windy February day.

Singer AnnaJo, who is living with cystic fibrosis, explained the challenges involved in filming the video:

“We filmed the video on Valentine’s Day. That had an unexpected downside – the yellow roses were more expensive than usual, because of the high demand for roses at that time of year. Apart from one short break, it rained constantly all day - we were just about the only people in the park.”

“We had to change some of our locations for the shoot because of the constant downpour. We decided to work with the weather we had been dealt, so we came up with the idea of floating some of the petals along the streams of rainwater. A lot of people have said they love the final effect, so it worked out well in the end.”

“We have had amazing feedback about the video” said anaJo. “Women in particular love the yellow roses against the black and white footage.”

In fact the yellow roses in the video are very symbolic. Yellow is the brand colour of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, chosen in part because it represents hope.

The term ‘sixty-five roses’ has been associated with cystic fibrosis since 1965, when a four-year-old boy, Richard Weiss, overheard his mother, Mary Weiss, making constant phone calls, in an attempt to raise money and awareness for a disease few people had heard about in the 1960s.

Mary had started the Palm Beach County chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation from their Palm Beach home. Richard told his mother he knew who she was working for. When she asked him “who?” he replied “You are working for Sixty-five Roses”.

The phrase is now often used by children who are unable to pronounce cystic fibrosis and every year ‘Sixty-five Roses’ balls are held to raise funds. Sadly, Richard lost his battle with the disease this year at the age of 52.

The median survival age in the UK is currently 41 years. For that reason the Cystic Fibrosis Trust chose not to celebrate their 50th anniversary this year because so many people with CF do not live to celebrate their own 50th birthday. Instead the CF Trust and their supporters chose to shout even louder about cystic fibrosis, redoubling their efforts in research, care, campaigning and support, in order to reach their goal of beating cystic fibrosis for good.

The UK Songwriting Contest was formed with support from The BRIT Trust to promote the craft of songwriting and to encourage and discover new songwriters. It is well known in the music industry as a launching pad for new talent. The finalists and winner of the Music Video category of the UK Songwriting Contest will be announced in December.


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