Album helps feed the needy

JESSICA Chapnik Kahn never expected her music to provide more than 27,000 meals to people in need, but that’s what has happened for the Sydney-based singer-songwriter who is better known by her stage name, Appleonia.

Appleonia has released her album OH in a novel music-sharing way – with every free album downloaded, Vittoria Coffee donates the album’s value to food rescue charity OzHarvest. In turn, for each download, OzHarvest is able to provide three meals to those in need.

“I had this album, and I really wanted to release it in a special way,” explains Chapnik Kahn. “We brainstormed this model where the music could become food.”

She enthuses that Vittoria Coffee came on board straight away. “They are essentially buying the album for people, but the money is donated to a charity. So the album converts into meals. And I thought that was a really exciting, different model of music making and music sharing.”

When OH was launched earlier this year, it received an overwhelming response and Vittoria Coffee’s initial commitment of 2000 downloads was reached in less than a week – and with 10 meals offered for each download, it meant that 20,000 meals were provided within the first week.

Blown away with the response, Vittoria Coffee agreed to continue the initiative at a rate of three meals for each download. With the next target set at 44,000 meals, the number of downloads is growing every day and has passed the half-way mark.

OH began production in Los Angeles a few years ago and is a collection of soulful, melodic tunes written by Chapnik Kahn as well as a number of producers and collaborators including Ben Lee, Jimmy Tambarello (The Postal Service) and Chapnik Kahn’s husband Nadav Kahn, who is the son of OzHarvest founder Ronni Kahn. Among the album’s popular songs is Lost at Sea.

“OH was a collaborative effort … a really exciting beginning of the whole tradition of Appleonia,” says Chapnik Kahn of the work behind the album.

She is thrilled with the reaction that the album and the meals initiative have received.

“I really wanted to get OH into people’s hands, and I wanted people to hear it, and we’ve had such an overwhelming response,” she says.

“It’s amazing to think that it’s in people’s homes and it’s doing something really cool alongside of it.”

Chapnik Kahn has been performing since she was a teenager, in many different bands, only having emerged as a solo artist in recent years.

She is also an actor, having worked in theatre and on screen, including a stint on popular television drama Home and Away from 2006-08.

“I’m always open to acting, but both acting and singing come and go at different times in my life. I’m in music at the moment,” she says.

Appleonia will be putting out another album next year, inspired by her personal journey with Kabbalah. “It’s actually darker and probably rockier,” she says of the upcoming album.

Having arrived with her family from Argentina as a young child, Chapnik Kahn was not brought up in a traditional Jewish home, and only started exploring her Jewish heritage around university age.

“It was my own discovery, my own will that got me back in the community,” she notes. “It’s been really wonderful to discover it from different angles and especially the Kabbalah.”

Of making music, Chapnik Kahn says she loves being able to explore something “to its absolute depth”.

To download a free copy of OH, visit www.appleoniamusic.com/ozharvest.

REPORT by Phoebe Roth

PHOTO: Jessica Chapnik Kahn as Appleonia, as featured on the cover of her album OH.