“The reason why I’m doing this, kid, is that I got so lucky and it is time to pay back.”Sir Roger Moore to his son Geoffrey after returning from a trip for UNICEF.
From a young age Geoffrey Moore was encouraged to sing by his mother, Italian actress Luisa Mattioli, and father, Bond actor Sir Roger Moore.
Geoffrey would often sing for family friends, including one of the greatest singers of all time, Frank Sinatra. ‘Ol Blue Eyes’ was so impressed with young Geoffrey’s vocal talents that he invited him to Las Vegas to perform.
Geoffrey’s love of music has stayed with him ever since, and in the summer of 2016, a tune came into his head that just would not go away. Geoffrey started developing the melody on his piano and decided to use it for some good.
At the time, Sir Roger was still working as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF and Geoffrey, influenced by his father’s work and his advice to him, decided to create a song dedicated to UNICEF. His father thought it was a great idea and gave him his blessing.
With a little help from my friends – and family
Geoffrey enlisted the help of Nigel Martinez, whose incredible career as a music producer includes working with soul greats Marvin Gaye, George Benson and Herbie Hancock.
Together Geoffrey and Nigel developed the melody and lyrics for U.n.I and added layers of lush backing vocals, courtesy of Nigel’s wife, singer Josie James. Josie is also one of the best session singers in the business and has worked with great artists including Burt Bacharach, George Duke and Stevie Wonder.
U.n.I started off as a family affair. Next up Marlon Martinez (Nigel’s and Josie’s son) played bass on the track – where he also joined his mother and father, plus Ambra and Geoffrey on backing vocals.
Next some celebrity magic was added to the mix, with Nile Rodgers playing lead guitar on the track – and then a celebrity singer came along and added an extra layer of joy to the recording.
Glee actress and singer Naya Rivera joins U.n.I
Naya Rivera was one of the first celebrities to answer the Moore’s call for support. The Glee actress offered up her time to the project and came into the studio to record lead vocals with Geoffrey. Now they had a great track.
Naya’s involvement in the song gave Geoffrey and Ambra the boost they needed to push forward to get more celebrities involved in U.n.I.
But suddenly everything stopped: Geoffrey and Ambra received the saddest news of all. Roger lost his short battle with cancer.
Sir Roger Moore died on May 23rd 2017, aged 89. Summing up the type of man he was, his children released a statement at the time: “Thank you Pops for being you, and being so very special to so many people.”
U.n.I is dedicated to Sir Roger Moore and his work for UNICEF
Geoffrey always wanted the song to be used as a vehicle to help UNICEF because of his father’s commitment to the organisation. Now Geoffrey’s and Ambra’s determination to complete the project was driven by their desire to pay tribute to Roger, who had taught them the value of paying back.
Roger Moore became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1991, having been introduced to the organisation by his friend Audrey Hepburn.
In 1991, Roger was knighted for his charity work, which included raising $91 million for the elimination of iodine deficiency as part of the Kiwanis International’s Worldwide Service Project. In 2012, Roger was awarded the UNICEF UK Lifetime Achievement Award, which he described as one of his proudest achievements.
Today Roger’s dedication to the work of UNICEF is a continuing Moore tradition, as Geoffrey says “U.n.I is a song for all those children who don’t have a choice.”
A fun song for UNICEF and Sir Roger Moore
The aim was never to create the most sophisticated composition or compete with other charity hits, says Geoffrey, but to produce something catchy and high-spirited. The Academy members must have enjoyed the spirit of it, as it was shortlisted for an Oscar for Best Original Song.
Geoffrey and Ambra hope the U.n.I song will raise lots of money for UNICEF, with 30p of each song sold and £1.20 of each video sold, going to the organisation.*
Prince Albert of Monaco showcased U.n.I
The U.n.I song was announced at the Monte-Carlo Gala for the Global Ocean, which took place on September 26th, a charity event hosted by Prince Albert II of Monaco. The song will be released on October 1st, 2019.
The Gala event was the perfect opportunity to raise awareness about the work put into the song and the change it wants to achieve.
The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation held the third Monte-Carlo Gala for the Global Ocean, a major fundraising event that supports worldwide initiatives in favour of a sustainable Ocean.
Many prominent guests and celebrities have been involved in the Monte-Carlo Gala including Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna, Katy Perry, Chris Tucker, Adrien Brody, Alessandra Ambrosio, Pierce Brosnan, Martin Scorsese and Robert F Kennedy.
Prince Albert is a supporter of U.n.I – and a close family friend – who helped and took part in the making of the project.
* UNICEF welcomes the great efforts of the Moore family through the U.n.I project, but it does not endorse any brand, product or service.