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Phil Collins Concert to Help Budding Stars

 

Photo Reuters
Phil & Orianne
 British singer and songwriter Phil Collins will perform in Geneva Saturday to raise funds for a charity foundation he and his Swiss wife Orianne set up to help aspiring entertainers and athletes.

 

Collins, who lives in a village in the wine-growing region of western Switzerland, also said he would release a new album by the end of the summer. It would be "far more experimental" as for the first time he used a computer for composing and mixing.

But the former Genesis drummer and lead singer conceded that deafness in his left ear, following a viral infection more than a year ago, was a handicap. Collins and his third wife, who runs a public relations company, set up the Little Dreams Foundation to provide professional support and financing for youths aged four to 16 hoping to make a breakthrough in music, cinema, or sport.

"A lot of people don't come from wealthy families... Therefore that talent ends up being unheard," Collins said in an interview with World Radio Geneva.

"The idea is funding them so they can go to music college if they want to be a musician or get equipment if they want to be an athlete," he added.

At the "Unplugged" concert, the foundation's first event, Collins will perform with Melody Perret, a 16-year-old Swiss girl. She is among the first to be sponsored by the foundation which will soon have eight to 10 proteges, a spokeswoman said.

Former Swiss skier Erika Hess, French actor Christophe Lambert, French tennis players Henri Leconte and Arnaud Boetsch, Swiss Olympic cyclist Pascal Richard and British round-the-world balloonist Brian Jones are among the foundation's "godfathers."

"Orianne is the driving force behind the foundation, she puts a lot into it," a source close to the board told Reuters. "We're going to do more events in Europe."

Last April, at age 50, Collins became a father for the fourth time when Orianne, who is more than 20 years younger, gave birth to their son Nicholas. The pair married in July 1999.

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