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Aaron Hendra is a man on a mission who believes in second chances. And he should. The Australian-born singer, songwriter and guitarist has been given enough of them over the last ten years. In an attempt to make things happen, Hendra delivered a demo tape to BMG Music Australia, the then record label of Aussie superstar, John Farnham. Six weeks later, Farnham personally called Hendra to say he loved the song and wanted to record it. “Don’t Let It End” was featured on the multi-platinum album Romeo’s Heart.

Years later, when a major label deal with Hollywood Records collapsed and a development deal with Warner Bros. Records was shelved, a chance meeting with entrepreneur Rick St. George led to the financial resources which enabled Hendra to quit his construction job, build a state-of-the-art studio in Beverly Hills, launch the independent label Give Records, and record the Aaron Hendra Project’s debut album Octobersong. How’s that for a second chance?

“Just when having a career playing music seemed impossible, another door would open. That inspired me to keep going to the point where it almost seemed crazy. But from an early age, I truly believed I could write hit songs and I was stubbornly determined not to give up,” Hendra says.

At the tender age of 10, Hendra’s aunt gave him a guitar and he simply “couldn’t put it down.” Since then, Hendra has honed his skills, preparing to be the kind of artist able to command a large stage and entertain an arena-sized crowd, while writing the big, anthemic songs necessary to do it. “I’m not just a coffeehouse singer-songwriter,” he says. “I can do that and reach people, but my real vision is big stages.”

The Aaron Hendra Project is a musical collaboration featuring the voice and songwriting of Aaron Hendra and the infectious groove and drumming talents of Gigi Gonaway. Hendra met Gonaway through a mutual friend in Los-Angeles in 2001. “I remember seeing Gigi at a small gig in Hollywood, and thinking he was the most entertaining drummer I had ever seen,” explains Aaron. “We instantly became friends, but didn’t join forces until years later.” Gonaway has an impressive list of career credits. His main gig for sixteen years was touring as Mariah Carey’s drummer, in a band lineup that included world-renowned musician and more recently judge on American Idol, Randy Jackson. Gonaway has also recorded with superstars such as Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Steve Winwood and Eric Martin. “I recall Aaron coming to my house in Arizona in 2007 and saying, I have a couple of songs I want to run by you. I was floored and touched by the emotion and realized instantly there was something very special in our musical connection and calling”, Gonaway says. After joining forces in 2009, the Project have performed all over the world, touching hearts and minds with its powerful songs and mission. “We want to use the gift of music and what we do to help those in this world who can’t help themselves,” says Hendra.

In 2010, Sam Childers, the man known as the “MACHINE GUN PREACHER,” visited Give Studios, in Los Angeles, in order to meet Aaron Hendra. Childers explained his remarkable transformation from violent, drug dealing criminal, to man of faith, and his ongoing battle to save children in one of the world’s most lawless areas. Childers and his organization, Angels of East Africa, provide shelter to children who have been rescued or who have escaped the likes of Joseph Kony, leader of Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (”LRA”) in the war-torn areas of South Sudan and Northern Uganda. “I was so blown away by his story, I woke up that night dreaming the words to “One Man’s War.” We knew we couldn’t finish the song without going to Africa and recording the voices of the actual children Sam has rescued,” Hendra explains.

Several months later, AHP traveled to Nimule, South Sudan, to visit Sam Childers’ Children‘s Village and to record some 300 children as they sang the end chorus of “One Man’s War.” Now an anthem touching many people around the globe, “One Man’s War” has become AHP’s mission. It also features as the official end title song in the MACHINE GUN PREACHER DOCUMENTARY [2014]. “As we go on tour, our goal is get a million people from all over the world to download this song. Every cent, every purchase will go to directly support the 300 children that sing on the end of this song, and many more like them,” says Hendra.

Octobersong is Hendra’s ticket to what he has always known was his destiny. The title track was inspired by the second chance he was given through meeting label partner Rick St. George. “Not only was I able to finish this album, I got to make it in a space so unique and extraordinary it would have made the likes of Sting and Led Zeppelin proud”, says Hendra. St George scoured LA and eventually found the secluded compound located in Beverly Hills just off the Sunset Strip. A mansion built in the ’70s by the late Richard Colburn (founder of L.A.’s Colburn School of Music) to entertain local socialites, the house featured a huge ballroom designed for chamber orchestras (Classical violinists such as Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, and Isaac Stern were regular guests of Colburn back the day). Hendra, St. George, Gonaway, and sound engineer Dave Ahlert transformed the library into a control room, installed a vintage Neve 8068 console and production on Octobersong began. Hendra produced the album with aid from Rob Hill (Korn, Cypress Hill), then traveled to Miami to have the songs mixed by Grammy Award-winning engineer Tom Lord-Alge (U2, Coldplay). “Tom took what we’d done to a whole new level,” Hendra says. “He really put his heart and soul into it.”

The Aaron Hendra Project is now gearing up for the release of Octobersong on May 7, 2014 – distributed worldwide through The Orchard & Give Records.