One of the most underrated songwriters ever, is named Stew. He used to be in this little indie band out of L.A. called The Negro Problem. The band sounded a little to pyschedlic sometimes, but on his solo records, Stew wrote some of the best songs in music history.
He's living in Berlin now, after the success of his Broadway play Passing Strange (which was filmed by Spike Lee).
Anyway, he used to do something on his website where you could hire him to write and perform a personalized song. A few times I thought about doing it.
One of my fellow San Diegans -- the famous Jason Mraz -- has recorded a personal song for a teenager in the hospital. And no money changed hands!
A musician who had a younger brother died, started up this charity. It gets singers and songwriters to write personalized songs for sick kids in the hospital.
Sure, it was cool when baseball players hit home runs for a sick child. And yeah, it's always nice when a famous actor or athlete sends an autographed 8 x 10 to the bedside of a sick patient. But really...nothing's going to beat a song written specifically for you.
Hats off to Mr. Mraz.