Ainsley Britain has ‘Heart for Hope’

From an idea to paper to the recording studio.

This process may seem all too familiar for many Belmont musicians. But for Ainsley Britain, a junior mass communications transfer from LSU, the process is all too new. On Sept. 17, Britain released her first, and maybe last, EP with one idea in mind: having a “Heart of Hope.”

Instead of releasing the “Heart of Hope” EP for self-promotion, Britain’s dabbling in music creation was geared toward providing funds for the Louisiana-based non-profit Hearts of Hope, which just so happens to be run by Britain’s real-life hero – her mother, Jill Dugass.

“I watched my mom just be sick over not getting donations, reduced to stress over trying to run a safe haven. … That’s what’s wrong with the world, if a non-profit can’t keep going because of lack of donations,” Britain said.

Hearts of Hope operates as a center that assists sexually abused children, teenagers and adults as they recover from emotional and physical trauma. The programs include a Children’s Advocacy Center, Sexual Assault Nurses and Rape Crisis Center.

“We are one of three in the nation, as far as we know, that houses all three programs in one,” Dugass said. “It allows us to be with the victim survivor from the beginning ER trip to the end of the process.”

Growing up surrounded by the pain experienced by victims of sexual abuse, Britain

developed a soft spot for the cause, but it was the statistics that really pushed her to the

recording studio.

Organizations like Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Abuse and Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) have estimated one in three females and one in five males have been sexual abused by the time they are 16. A lack of reporting prevents a definitive figure, and some estimate approximately nine out of 10 incidents go unreported.

“When I heard the stats, I thought ‘this is freaking scary,’” Britain said. “That’s when I decided to do something … but I needed something to give in return for donations so that’s where the EP came in.”

Numerous hours and talents had a hand in the creation of the EP and title track music video, including old friend and current country chart topper, Hunter Hayes.

“[I have] no idea how it came together. Everyone just sat down and things fell into place,” Britain said.

The six-song EP contains five original songs, four of which were co-written with Hayes. Britain performed each of them during the EP release party — her first and perhaps her only show.

“ I’m terrified of the stage, but I’m working on it,” Britain said.

But she’s not ruling out anything. “Heart of Hope” was released Sept. 17, and now Britain is looking for her next project.

“Ultimately, I would like to do a different album for a different non-profit,” she said. “It gets me out of the spotlight and provides them with something they can sell forever. That would be ideal but it depends on getting everything to work out like with ‘Heart of Hope.’”

Britain is fully aware that her plans to change genres to fit a non-profit’s demographic will limit her marketability, but making money is not the goal. She sees it as her chance to be “the voice of the children,” just like her mother.

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