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St. Louis musicians send songs of thanks to health care workers

Soul singer Brian Owens is recruiting singers and non-singers for the "Stand by me challenge"

ST. LOUIS — Sometimes, music can be the medicine we all need.

Especially a dose of St. Louis' own Brian Owens.

Owens, whose music has been compared to legendary soul artists Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding, has performed all over the world after humble beginnings.

"I grew up in Belleville, Illinois, and you know, I grew up in church," he told 5 On Your Side. "My dad's a preacher and so like most soul singers, that's where I started singing was in church." 

Recently, Owens appeared on a music series alongside fellow St. Louisans Michael McDonald and David Sanborn.

And those "Sanborn Sessions" lead to a new mission.

"Sanborn Sessions" producer Noah Friedman founded a website called 6FTCloser, which sends personal thank you videos to essential workers on the front lines of COVID-19. That's when Owens started the "Stand By Me Challenge".

"The heavens opened up and it was like, this is the, this is the perfect vehicle for us to be able to bring hope, share this amazing song. Everybody knows the song," said Owens.

Owens recruited his students and fellow musicians like Joanna Serenko from NBC's "The Voice".  And yes, non-musicians are welcome.

"You go to www.6ftcloser.com and you sign up to do a video for somebody. For every video that is done in May, we're going to donate a meal," Owens explained.

Brian Owens and the "Stand By Me Challenge". Offering our first responders just the right note.

"I want St. Louis to show up and show out and get these "Stand By Me" videos out," he said. "So we can feed our people here and feed the people across the country with the spirit of music."

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