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Alicia Champion reinvigorates the protest power ballad with 'The Freshmen '18'

"I'm now 36 and a parent who’s watched a one-time freak tragedy become a social epidemic,"
Photo credit:
Alicia Champion - YouTube

Former San Diegan Alicia Champion was only 17 when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold swept through the classrooms of Columbine High School with gunfire killing 12 students and injuring 21.

In the nearly twenty years since that tragedy, she has had to watch other mass shootings take place across America. According to GunViolenceArchive.org a mass shooting is defined as having four or more victims injured or killed not including the gunman.

There have already been 113 reported and verified mass shootings in America based on that definition since the beginning of 2018. As a mother and a spouse, she has had enough. "I'm now 36 and a parent who’s watched a one-time freak tragedy become a social epidemic," she says. 

Champion is a singer and an activist. History has taught us that these two identities are not mutually exclusive, the politically charged songs of yesteryear served as a resistance for war and promotion of peace.

Champion seems to have taken a cue from that era in her latest release "The Freshmen '18."  Strumming her guitar, inveighing against those "who were responsible, for kids with guns in the first place," she has re-written the lyrics to The Verve Pipe original as a protest anthem. 

She sings: "When I was young I knew everything, at least that's what I thought until that fateful time. I was grief-stricken, sobbin' on the floor; watchin' it unfold for those at Columbine"

This isn't the first time the rocker has used her voice as a springboard for awareness. Her 2016 song "Bi" became the theme to the bisexual community who often get ignored or misunderstood in the LGBT prism. Champion is also married to frontwoman of indie rock group Danielle LoPresti & the Masses, a band which originated in San Diego. Together the couple produced the popular San Diego IndieFest music festival until 2015. That same year the women appeared in a video together for LoPresti's  "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" which starred their adopted son Xander. 

But the video for "The Freshman '18" is not so merry. Images of news broadcasts reporting on mass shootings throughout the last 20 years serve as the visual narrative in conjunction with Champion's passionate solo session with her various guitars. The somber beginning to the song gives way to an emotional ending in which Champion sings "For the life of me, I cannot believe that you let them die for your sins, they are merely freshmen..."

The song itself brandishes a powerful message which is mostly aimed at the National Rifle Association and the politicians they support. There is also an underlying apology to the youth of today. In fact, Champion says the song is dedicated to them, "I’m sorry my generation failed you, I stand with you until this fight is won. This is for you."

The video ends with a call for donations for The Brady Center to End Gun Violence.

On July 12, Champion will also perform the song live at a benefit concert at San Diego's Music Box for The Brady Center that she and spouse, Danielle LoPresti, will host. The event, “OUT to End Gun Violence,” will be headlined by 2018 Song of the Year Grammy nominee, Justin Tranter.

Joining them will also be East of Eli, the musical brainchild of Nathan West and wife, actress/singer, Chyler Leigh (“Supergirl,” “Grey’s Anatomy”), Pulse Nightclub DJ and survivor, DJ Infinite, plus more celebrity guests that will be announced in June.