Glee alums came together to celebrate the late Naya Rivera and help finish a song she recorded more than a decade ago.
Rivera, who died at age 33 in 2020 after an accidental drowning, first recorded “Prayer for the Broken” in 2012. The song was never finished, but former Glee stars Kevin McHale, Jenna Ushkowitz, Amber Riley, Heather Morris, Vanessa Lengies and Ashley Fink helped finish the track with background vocals. “Prayer for the Broken,” written by Lindy Robbins and Isaac Hasson, is now available to purchase and stream with proceeds benefiting Alexandria House.
The Glee family has honored Rivera’s legacy every Christmas since her death with an event they call the Annual Snixxmas Charity Fundraiser, named for Rivera’s legendary holiday parties. Each December, former Glee stars come together for an event to raise funds for Alexandria House. Rivera was a vocal supporter of the organization, which provides housing for women and children.
The yearly Snixxmas event has raised nearly $250,000 for Alexandra House since its inception, McHale and Ushkowitz explained on the Friday, December 1, episode of iHeartMedia’s “And That’s What You REALLY Missed” podcast.
“Out now is an unreleased song that Naya, from some of her solo music, recorded back in 2012,” Ushkowitz, 37, said. “At the wonderful gracious approval of the writers of this song and Yolanda, Naya’s mother, we are releasing this for you all to hear the incredible vocals and the amazing talents of Naya.”
McHale, 35, said he’d been sitting on an unfinished version of the track for quite some time. “Being able to hear Naya’s voice in this way is also what made this whole thing happen in the first place,” he explained. “I had this demo from Naya in 2012 and I remember when she played it for me … Obviously Naya could sing. Her voice could do anything. It could touch you emotionally, it could make you wanna dance, it could do all things. And this was another one of those layers of ‘Oh, wow. Here you are outside of Glee doing this thing.’”
Ultimately, the song was never released. “Then life happens where we all recorded music, none of it came out, whatever,” McHale continued. “But I’ve always listened to this song. … When she passed, the song was such a source of — when I could eventually listen to it, it took a minute — but it provided me such a source of comfort and just being like, ‘Thank God I have this. Like, thank God we have all these episodes and Glee songs of hers and all the other work she’s done outside of Glee.’ To just see her talent, to see her face and beauty and wit and charm, all of it. Everything we have from Naya is finite now.”
With that in mind, McHale said Naya’s friends and family wanted to put out more of the work she left behind. “If it means so much to us, there’s no way it’s not going to mean a lot to other people,” he reasoned.
Last year, McHale exclusively told Us Weekly that Rivera’s death led to healing among the surviving Glee cast members. (The musical comedy aired on Fox from 2009 to 2015.)
“Everyone was so emotionally raw and just sort of like, ‘How is this happening? Why is this happening?’ Let’s talk about it,” McHale told Us in October 2022. “Let’s talk about everything. … It was really nice that everybody could find a space to feel comfortable and open and trusting enough to do that.”
“[Cory] did bring us together as well … but we were still doing the show,” Ushkowitz added. “There was a lot to lose. There were, you know, jobs at stake. There was just a lot. Like Kevin said, after Naya passed, it was like we had a lot of space away from the show and a lot of time to process, and a lot of people had time to actually sit with their feelings. And I think that was also really good for us because we had had the time to reflect.”