Alicia Keys was the first act to perform at Friday night's (January 22) "Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief" telethon. Keys, who sat and played at the piano, gave a somber but stirring performance of her song "Prelude to a Kiss," from her 2007 LP As I Am.
A montage of Haitian people played as Keys performed. "Sometimes I feel so heavyhearted," Keys sang with emotion. "But I can't explain, 'cause I'm so guarded/ But that's a lonely road to travel/ And a heavy load to bear."
Footage of a Haitian baby crying added depth to the poignant performance. "Can you send an angel?" she sang, as if she were pleading to heaven on the chorus.
Keys is just one of a multitude of entertainers contributing to the telethon. Jay-Z, U2, Rihanna, Wyclef Jean and Bruce Springsteen will also perform, while celebs such as Tobey Maguire and Tyrese Gibson are answering phones for donations. George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio told stories of some of the horrific moments in the wake of last week's earthquake.
iTunes customers can exclusively pre-order the "Hope for Haiti Now" full-performance album ($7.99) and the full two-hour video telecast ($1.99). Pre-orders will be delivered in the days following the telethon. Individual audio performances will also be available for purchase and download for 99 cents each in the days following the telethon. Apple, the record labels and the artists will donate their share of the proceeds to Haiti relief funds managed by "Hope for Haiti Now" charities, including the Red Cross and Wyclef's Yele Haiti foundation. Performances will also be available for purchase in the days following the event through Amazon's MP3 service and Rhapsody, through distribution provided by INgrooves.