Edmonton artist uses music to shine light on housing crisis

An Edmonton artist is using his music to shine a light on the housing crisis. Laura Krause explains the messages he hopes to share through the lyrics of his Christmas song.

An Edmonton artist recently released a new single — putting a twist on a classic Christmas song — his music video and lyrics highlighting the homeless crisis happening in our city, and across the globe.

“So many people are going to be shivering, hungry on the streets this Christmas, and I think that deserves our attention,” said Martin Kerr, singer-songwriter.

Kerr says he’s always loved traditional Christmas carols and the sense of community it creates- but feels the extremes of wealth and poverty have gotten out of hand- inspiring him to release ‘God Rest Ye Merry Billionaires’.

“We see literally thousands of people living on the street, but there are tens of thousands of people who are one missed pay cheque or one small accident or crisis away from ending up there too.”

Martin Kerr, singer-songwriter. (Photo Credit: Laura Krause, CityNews)

Edmonton’s homelessness population has more than doubled since pre-pandemic, with more than 3,000 people without a permanent place to call home- according to Homeward Trust.

Kerr hopes to create conversations through his new single- and to inspire people to be generous this holiday season if they can.

“Even if they can’t give generously, at least to think a bit more generously to people struggling because it could be any of us the way things are going,” said Kerr.

The song has already garnered millions of views across social media platforms.

“I’ve always loved the old traditional Christmas carols and the sense of community you get when you sing them together,” said Kerr.

“And to me, the true spirit of Christmas is about generosity and kindness and community, and it feels deeply wrong and uncomfortable to me to pretend that everything is okay, and sing these old carols when the extremes of wealth and poverty have gotten so crazy.”

Kerr will be performing at the City of Edmonton’s free New Year’s Eve celebration at Sir Winston Churchill Square.

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