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The Importance of sight and sound with Chris Botti

Cause Celeb highlights a celebrity’s work on behalf of a specific cause. In this week's Cause Celeb, we had the pleasure of speaking with Chris Botti about the importance of eye and ear health with The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Established in 1820, The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary was created to meet the eye care needs of all New Yorkers. It is a not-for-profit, voluntary specialty hospital providing outpatient and state of the art medical/surgical care. They now specialize in the disciplines of Ophthalmology, Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery and Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery.

Since his 2004 album When I Fall In Love, Chris Botti has become the biggest selling American jazz instrumental artist. He has worked with multiple stars including Frank Sinatra, Josh Groban, John Mayer and many more. He has four #1 Jazz albums and has been nominated for five Grammy Awards. By 2009, Botti had released twelve solo album.

Introduction by Meg Zrini

Interviewed by Giacinta Pace

Q: How did you get involved with the charity?

Chris: I’ve had the fantastic opportunity for the past several years, to work with the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary’s fundraising gala. I’ve become good friends with them and I’m very happy to be joining their campaign to hope to encourage people to take care of their hearing and never really let it be taken for granted.

Q: Out of all the charities out there, what was it about this one that made you want to work with them?

Chris: In doing the gala event, I became friendly with the people that run the Infirmary and hearing from them about the 36 million Americans that already have some degree of hearing loss and with the 10 thousand baby boomers that turn 65 each day, this number’s skyrocketing. They told me about their plans for their education site which is called Ilikemyhearing.org. I had the opportunity to work not only with Fabrizio Ferri, the great photographer but my dear friend Sting as well so I just jumped at it. It just felt like a very good fit.

Q: How has working with the charity been personal rewarding for you?

Chris: Certainly, being a musician, hearing is one of my most precise senses and to me the inspiration for the music that I make comes from the sounds that I hear. Honestly, I couldn’t ever imagine a world without sound. But also I [think] it’s real important that people take care of this amazing sense, that they do what they can to make sure that they can hear for as long as they can.

Q: Why is it important for celebrities to support charitable causes?

Chris: That’s a personal issue within someone; I’m not really one that thinks that every celebrity needs to find every single cause. I think they can sometimes go overboard with them but I think that when you find the rare cause, and I mean rare for yourself that resonates within you and you admire the people who are doing it, I think it’s more important than just jumping on the band wagon of every single cause. That’s what was so exciting for me about this, you don’t hear a lot of people out there doing – no pun intended, a play on words – you don’t hear that going on all the time, there’s other charities that people run after all the time for celebrities. I think that it has to happen within the person individually.

Check out New York Eye and Ear’s PSA with Chris Botti and don’t miss this video with an important message from Ronald Hoffman.