Louise Kent
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Louise Kent

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
Band Spoken Word Folk


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"Debut album spreads musical message"

Shameless idealism is accompanied by an acoustic guitar in Louise Kent's debut album, The Small Things, the first to be released by Free the Children's new label, Me to We Music.

"Every track is a little piece of who I am, as I start to discover what it means to be living a socially conscious lifestyle," says Kent, 28, who describes her album as half "folky-rocky" and half "naked, raw acoustic." She lists Ani Difranco, the Rolling Stones and the Beastie Boys as some of her influences.

The Bracebridge native has been working with Free the Children since 2004. She has given speeches around the continent, led school-building trips to Kenya and shared her message of hope with more than 100,000 people.

Kent is a musician at her core, born into a home filled with classical piano music and surrounded by Muskoka's pristine lakes and trees.

"I discovered that I didn't have to play other people's music, that I could write my own," she says, her feet tucked up underneath her on a couch at the Free the Children headquarters on Carlton St.

Kent studied international development at the University of Guelph and travelled the world, gaining a better understanding of women's issues, environmental degradation and the poverty that "saturates every part of every issue that you see." After that, there was no turning back.

Kent worries that, without education, children such as two little girls she met in Cambodia might not learn about basic health, math, or techniques for gathering rainwater and growing food. But, she says, the education needs to start here, in the West, where our own demands often exacerbate poverty or war in vulnerable countries.

"Raising that awareness at home is going to have a huge, huge impact in allowing people to rise up from poverty in other places in the world," she says.

Kent says creating an album that was educational and inspiring without being preachy was no small feat, but she's confident she and her team pulled it off. The album will be released at tomorrow's National Me to We Day, where Kent will also be performing.

Kent is one of two executive directors of Me to We Music, and is scouting out the label's next socially conscious artist – likely a guy, she says, and ideally someone with "a hip-hop feel." - Toronto Star

"Louise Kent @ Carden Street Cafe"

Songstress Louise Kent is at the Carden Street Cafe tonight, singing songs from her new album, The Small Things. She's on the new label, Me To We Music, which is bringing something new to record labels: A consience. The label is part of the Me To We movement, brought to you by Craig and Marc Kielberger of Free the Children fame. Kent is not only a singer and performer, but a motivational speaker and Executive Director of Me To We.

Her record The Small Things is the debut album for Me to We Music and the label is raising awareness about social issues, as well as supporting Free the Children projects around the world. If the success of Free The Children is any indication, then I think Me To We can certainly inspire youth to "be the change." - Guelph Mercury

"Conference encouraged students to raise their voices"

Iroquois Ridge High School’s gym was packed Wednesday with close to 1,200 students clapping and dancing to a song about creating social change.

It was a successful start to the school’s Raise Your Voice Conference, which encouraged students to make a difference by getting involved in their school, community and world.

Keynote speaker Louise Kent, a Toronto-based musician, is a vocal advocate for two charitable organizations, Me to We and Free the Children. She spoke about the difference one person can make, emphasizing her message with a musical performance.

“There is so much opportunity in both the local and global community to help,” she said. “Whenever you feel like you have no power, remember the power of one.”

This was the inaugural Raise Your Voice Conference, organized by the Student Voice Committee, which consists of about 20 students and staff advisors, whose mission is ensuring students have a voice in the school and community. The committee had been planning the conference since October.

“The purpose of the conference is to empower students,” said Zeehan Rahman, a Grade 12 student and cochair of the Student Voice Committee. “They have a lot of power they don’t recognize and if they see that, they may make more rational decisions compared to our adult leaders.”

The Student Voice Committee invited schools and community organizations across Halton. Students from seven high schools and one elementary school took part in the conference.

“It is important that we are having students and teachers from other schools because it creates that larger community and that is where the real power of student voices is — it’s in that collaborative effort,” said Erin Leahy, Speak Your Voice Committee staff advisor.

The message organizers hoped students would leave with was the importance of getting involved in a cause.

“They don’t understand the power they have as individuals and I think once you make them aware they are the future and what tomorrow is going to be, to get them involved is important,” said Komal Khattak, a Grade 12 student and co-chair of the Student Voice Committee. “Hopefully this conference will help them realize what they feel strongly about and then be able to act on it.”

Kent reinforced the message in her presentation, which included suggestions on how to get involved, citing ideas like park cleanup days, breast cancer sports tournaments and volunteering or fundraising.

Kent emphasized the need for action with her presentation of statistics, such as the fact that 1.2 billion people do not have access to clean drinking water in the world, or that one out of every six young people in Canada live under the poverty line.

“It is absolutely amazing that we have the resources and more than enough money, but we are not doing enough to stop this,” Kent said.

She spoke about how a trip to Asia turned into a yearlong volunteer mission. She spent a lot of time during that year working for free in places of extreme need, such as orphanages. She now travels the world, speaking to people about Free the Children and Me to We, encouraging them to stand up and take action.

“Poverty isn’t just something that happens to ‘those people’,” Kent said of her experiences in Asia. “I realized then how much power I had to help change the world. I get such a rush from volunteering.”

Iroquois Ridge High School, through Free the Children, has raised approximately $25,000 over three years to build and sustain a school in Pimbiniet, Kenya.

Workshops on politics, history and global issues followed the keynote presentation.

“This is where a lot of student voice is,” Rahman said. “You have a lot of students who want to talk about politics, who are passionate about history and who have a lot of ideas about global issues.”

“Students imagined, organized and made this happen,” said Kathryn Patterson, a staff advisor.

“The students have done the entire thing and that is what it is about — allowing students the power to create something out of their own minds that they believe is really important.” - Oakville Beaver

"Youth group raises money for school, hospital"

A youth group from Napanee’s St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Church has been using a yummy approach to help raise funds for various worthwhile causes.

The Me to We in Napanee group has been helping to run a monthly breakfast and regular dinners at the church as a fundraiser for it’s pet project, building a primary school in the African nation of Sierra Leone.

Half the proceeds from the most recent breakfast, held last month, were donated to that cause, while the other half $250, was given to the digital diagnostic imaging campaign of the Lennox & Addington County General Hospital Foundation.

Me to We in Napanee is affiliated with the Free the Children movement, and international development organization that focuses on challenging youth to take on leadership roles in improving the lives of children in impoverished nations.

It was founded a decade ago by then 12-year-old children’s rights advocate, Craig Kielburger and his brother Marc.

“We found out about this organization…and they have Youth in Action groups, so youth around the world, mostly in North America, can start groups with teenagers and children,” said group member Dana Pennell, a Grade 11 student at Napanee District Secondary School.

The Me to We group decided on a plan to raise a total of $8,500 to build a school in Sierra Leone.

“So far we’ve raised around $2,230,” said Pennell, adding that this amount came from the proceeds of three breakfasts and a ham dinner at the church.

“We’ve had lots of donation so far from people from the church, some really generous donations from some people. We’re planning a dinner for May, and we also have a speaker coming to talk to us, and we’re going to be raising money for that,” Pennell said.

The guest speaker is Louise Kent, an activist as well as a singer/songwriter. She will be coming to Napanee on March 28, at 7 p.m.

“She actually has a background in international development. She has worked in China and Kenya and India,” said Pennell. - Napanee Guide


The Small Things (LP, 2008)
Courage (LP, 2009)



Louise Kent is many things - speaker, musician, energetic global citizen - but first and foremost she is a storyteller. With a background in International Development and years of on-the-ground experience in China, Kenya, India and beyond, Louise shows audiences an amazing world beyond their own.

She has released two full-length albums (The Small Things, 2008; Courage, 2009) created to help inspire listeners to take action in their own ways, and has performed around the world sharing her message of compassion and kindness. From large scale We Day events filling stadiums with 16,000 screaming youth, to rural villages in Ecuador, Louise's music speaks to the masses.

Drawing from personal experiences with inspiring women leaders, respected community elders, and passionate students from around the world, Louise's presentations tie social issues to tangible actions. She has shared stages with HH Dalai Lama, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Mia Farrow, Jason Mraz, Sarah McLachlan and others, sharing stories and tools that audiences can walk away with, feeling inspired and empowered to create positive social change.

Over 250,000 people around the world have heard Louise's stories and music - whether as a speaker for the O Ambassadors Tour, a Free The Children Ambassador or a speaker on Me to We's professional speaking bureau. At each stop, she combines a powerful, evocative discussion of prevalent global issues with a raw musical performance that brings her stories and passions to life. The goal: spread the Me to We message of kindness, compassion and service to others. It's been Louise's philosophy her whole life, and it's an idea she can't wait to share with the crowd every time she picks up the microphone.