A solid fixture on the industry calendar has always been Secret 7", the anonymous charity auction where leading artists and designers create their own record sleeves of one of seven iconic tracks by seven musicians. After a temporary break, the event is back for 2023. We find out what's in store.
First launched in 2012 by Kevin King and Jordan Stokes, Secret 7" has been a beloved annual cause for the creative community, selling 4,900 unique records and raising over half a million for charitable causes. It's secret because bidders don't know whose artwork they get until the auction ends and all is revealed. Pretty special, right?
It ran until 2021 and was almost forgotten until the charity War Child brought it back to life this month to provide essential aid, education and support to children and families affected by conflict. The concept remains the same: seven iconic tracks are pressed onto 7" vinyl, each limited to 100 unique copies. Creatives worldwide, ranging from talented newcomers to some of the biggest names, submit sleeve artwork for the 700 records, creating one-of-a-kind collectables that appeal to hardcore fans and record collectors alike.
The records will then be exhibited in March 2024 at London's NOW Gallery on Greenwich Peninsula before they become available to bid on. Once again, the identities of their creators remain a secret until the record is in the new owner's hands. How wonderful is that! Previous sleeve designers include Ai Weiwei, Sir Peter Blake, Yoko Ono, David Shrigley, and Martin Parr, so it really isn't to be missed.
So, what are the tracks on offer this year? There's Aurora's A Different Kind of Human, Stop This Flame by Celeste, Skipping Like a Stone by The Chemical Brothers, Hozier's Swan Upon Leda, Pipes of Peace by Paul McCartney, Lullaby by Siouxsie & The Banshees, and finally, We Sell Hope by The Specials. There's a little something for everyone. If you fancy contributing to this year's initiative, you can submit your own work digitally. The deadline is 9 January 2024, and you might just have your creation featured on one of the 7" vinyls.
If you prefer to create something physical by hand, you can request a pack with everything you need to participate. It's available to purchase from this week.
On announcing the return of Secret 7", Rich Clarke from War Child said: "It will help raise funds to support our crucial work in conflict zones around the world. War Child operates in some of the most challenging, hard-to-reach places to help children and families who are most severely affected by war. Sadly, demand for our work is growing. Our goal is to reach children as quickly as possible when conflict breaks out and to provide ongoing support long after the cameras have gone to support them through their recovery."
He adds: "We believe no child should be part of war. Ever. This is why projects like this are so important. We are grateful to all the musicians, artists and partners involved in Secret 7". Together, we can protect and educate many more children, supporting their healing and learning for a safer, brighter future."
Secret 7" follows recent news that sales of vinyl have surged by nearly 15 per cent, year-on-year, for the first nine months of 2023. If phonograph records are your thing, find out more about Secret 7" over on its new website.