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Grammy-winning musician to host new podcast from VPM and Narratively

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Track Change is co-produced by VPM and Narratively

The criminal justice system in the United States can be difficult to escape even after a person has completed their sentence. A new podcast co-produced by VPM and Narratively is set to explore the challenges of breaking this cycle of recidivism, the interconnected relationship between addiction and incarceration and the power of creative expression in healing trauma.

TRACK CHANGE follows a group of men in Richmond City Jail as they record an album detailing their efforts to successfully re-enter society. Hosted by Todd “Speech” Thomas, founder of the Grammy-winning hip-hop group Arrested Development, the five-part series will explore the stories of four musicians incarcerated in the local jail and the creation of original songs to tell their stories through music.

“I'm so thrilled for people to finally hear the songs and stories in TRACK CHANGE,” said Gavin Wright, VPM’s managing producer for podcasts. “This series speaks not only to the incredible work being done to tackle the re-entry crisis in our nation, but also to our shared humanity with people who are so often looked down upon or cast aside. Everyone deserves the opportunity to pursue a better life, as well as access to the resources and support to do so.”

TRACK CHANGE builds upon the 2018 documentary film 16 Bars, which also chronicled Speech’s trip to Richmond City Jail where he collaborated with Richmond nonprofit REAL LIFE to conduct a two-week music production workshop. REAL LIFE aims to assist men and women who are exiting incarceration with challenges that they might face along the way, including housing, employment and sobriety.

TRACK CHANGE is set to launch on April 17, to coincide with Second Chance Month in Virginia and the United States. The annual observance is a nationwide effort to spread awareness of the consequences of criminal convictions and to support those who have completed their sentences and seek to re-enter society. Nearly 10 million people are released from the nation’s prisons and jails each year, with little to no support.

TRACK CHANGE is distributed by the NPR Network. Speech is available for interviews on a limited basis. For local inquiries, please contact Danny Nokes. You can read a press release here.

Listen to the trailer.

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