The death of Carly Henley, a 20-year-old University of Washington student and aspiring singer/songwriter, impacted an entire community last month. Thousands in the University District gathered for a candlelight vigil just a few days after her suicide.
Courtesy of the Henley family
In the hopes of preserving her memory and music, the Henley family created "The Carly Henley Project: Love the Skin You're In." Through donations, Carly's unfinished songs and recordings will be worked into an album that may feature local artists. Using the website Kickstarter, which allows people to donate and help fund varying causes, the project has already raised more than $30,000 thanks to almost 500 different contributors. The project's initial goal of $12,000 was met after just 20 hours.
As part of my story for the UW's student newspaper, The Daily, I was able to talk with Carly's cousin Carson Henley, a local soul musician who helped launch the project. He told me that the response to the project thus far has been amazing, and that while the family is not yet sure on the exact details of where all the proceeds from album and merchandise sales will go, they'll likely go to music programs.
"We would really like it to go to youth music programs or anything concentrated on music," Henley said. "It's really early and fresh for the entire family to start thinking about the circumstances of her death, because I know all of us would like to raise awareness about suicide, depression and self-esteem disorders - especially amongst young people."
Donors will receive packages depending on the amount of money they give to the project. There's a minimum $1 pledge, but donating $10 will get you a pre-release copy of the album. Other packages include "Love Wins" t-shirts, a DVD and tickets to a benefit concert that has yet to be formally announced.
The album will combine songs from Carly's She's Beautiful EP, released last year via iTunes, and recordings she had been working on before her death. Her music can still be heard on her MySpace page and on YouTube, where she posted several covers of songs by some of her favorite artists. Below is a video made by the Henley family highlighting Carly and the project.