Editor’s note: This story is part of the annual Mosaic Journalism Workshop for Bay Area high school students, a two-week intensive course at journalism. Students in this year’s virtual program report and photograph real stories under the guidance of professional journalists.
A desk lamp illuminates the piano keys, the plugged-in mic, the camera on the iPad screen, and the blue corner of the room with its warm, yellow light. Aayush Pagaria takes a deep breath before he clicks “record.”
He sings “Heal the World” by Michael Jackson. “What an appropriate time for this song,” he adds to his caption as he uploads the cover, along with a thank-you message to his 25th donor.
“Preparing for a song cover can take anywhere from five minutes to five days. I like to immerse myself in the energy of performance,” he said.
From here, he’ll go into a rendition of a wide range of songs and singers, from Spanish to Hindi, old to new.
This process fuels Music for Medicine, a fundraising project to help COVID-19 relief, created by Aayush, a rising senior at Silver Creek High School.
With a direct Instagram donation link, Aayush encourages followers to donate at least $5 to medical nonprofits that provide essential equipment to health care professionals and work to repair flaws in the public health system by funding more laboratory staff members for testing and monitoring the virus.
He thanks donors by uploading covers of songs they choose. As of June 22, Aayush had raised $1,097.