New Music

“The Solidary Song” – Americana singer-songwriter Sally Grayson shares a moment of peace to those fighting for peace through justice

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Since the quarantine started, Sally Grayson has been writing songs for this time with a project called SONIC FEVER. For each song she is collaborating with a different set of musicians worldwide.  The most recent song called, β€œThe Solidary Song,” was intended to convey a message of PEACE.  But as the release date approached (June 5th) she wondered, β€œhow can I release a song about peace when it is time to demand justice?” So the release was postponed for a month to focus on listening and learning from voices of BIPOC and figuring out how to make those voices actionable in her work.  Now she is ready to release this song with a reframed message. β€œSolidary” means: β€œexisting jointly and severally.”  As in: we are all in this together, seperate in our own homes.  But this word also stems from the word β€œSolidarity.” And solidarity is finally gaining traction with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Comments Sally:

β€œFirst of all I dedicate this song to BIPOC. I know you are tired. My prayer for peace upon you is not just for you to be able to breathe in a moment of peace, but also for lasting peace that comes through justice realized in real structural transformation that affects your everyday lives. I wish you peace in the moments when you need it most – when you wake in the night, when fear grips you, when you feel overwhelmed or unseen. I see you, I hear you, and your life matters and should be filled with the peace that you have been denied for too long. I hope you find moments of internal peace during this real fight for justice that will someday lead to a life lived in a world that gives that peace back to you.

I dedicate this song also to those fighting for equality. I know your hearts burn with a fire of righteous anger that has been stoked by recent events. My prayer is that as you find the strength to continue the fight for justice and equity and that you will also have the peace of knowing that this fight will have positive repercussions both now and in the future.”

Asked about the song, its meaning, as well as this new video, she explained:

When I wrote this song, I was thinking of people who are perhaps at their darkest place because of this virus. Maybe they have lost a loved one, are sick with the virus themselves, lost their job. I wrote it for anyone who has that whirlwind of worry swirling in their minds and hearts. But in the end, I realized that I also wrote it for me.

Many evenings when the kids were playing outside, I’d take the opportunity to hop on the keyboard and experiment with chord progressions. There are moments when I write something and it just clicks in. Sometimes it’s just a phrase, a melody that feels right within me, so I take that piece and add around it.

𝐼 π‘€π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘π‘’π‘‘ π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π‘™π‘¦π‘Ÿπ‘–π‘π‘  π‘œπ‘“ π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π‘ π‘œπ‘›π‘” π‘‘π‘œ 𝑏𝑒 π‘£π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘¦ π‘ π‘‘π‘Ÿπ‘Žπ‘–π‘”β„Žπ‘‘π‘“π‘œπ‘Ÿπ‘€π‘Žπ‘Ÿπ‘‘ π‘π‘’π‘π‘Žπ‘’π‘ π‘’ 𝑖𝑛 π‘šπ‘œπ‘šπ‘’π‘›π‘‘π‘  π‘€β„Žπ‘’π‘› 𝑀𝑒 π‘Žπ‘Ÿπ‘’ 𝑓𝑖𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑑 π‘€π‘–π‘‘β„Ž π‘ π‘‘π‘Ÿπ‘’π‘ π‘ , 𝐼 π‘‘β„Žπ‘–π‘›π‘˜ 𝑀𝑒 𝑛𝑒𝑒𝑑 π‘Ž π‘‘π‘–π‘Ÿπ‘’π‘π‘‘ π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ π‘π‘™π‘’π‘Žπ‘Ÿ π‘šπ‘’π‘ π‘ π‘Žπ‘”π‘’. 𝐴𝑛𝑑 π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π‘šπ‘’π‘ π‘ π‘Žπ‘”π‘’ π‘‘β„Žπ‘Žπ‘‘ 𝐼 π‘€π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘π‘’π‘‘ π‘‘π‘œ π‘ β„Žπ‘Žπ‘Ÿπ‘’ π‘€π‘Žπ‘  π‘π‘Žπ‘Ÿπ‘’π‘“π‘Žπ‘π‘’π‘‘: 𝑃𝐸𝐴𝐢𝐸.

The thing is, as I would work on the song often in the golden hour with the sun departing out my window, I couldn’t help but let some tears fall on the keys. My own heart was longing to hear the message that I wanted to get out into the world. Whether because of this pandemic or not, everyone out there is walking around holding their own secret sorrows, and I believe all of us in need of that extra dose of grace and peace right now.

I also reached out to my fans with this question, β€œIf there was one phrase you could have whispered in your ear during this crisis, what would it be?” Some of the phrases ended up in the song. β€œThis too shall pass,” β€œYou are enough.”

For this song, I started with an invite to bassist Dominik Kraemer. We met when I was on The Voice of Germany. He’s been playing in that amazing band and other German TV Shows. He then invited drummer Lukas Berg (Lokee, Roosevelt, Maxim, Raashan Ahmad) who then invited guitarist Philip Breidenbach(Charlotte Haesen, Stefanie Heinzmann, Maxim). I kept hearing strings on the song, so I reached out to Joy Stuhr (The Radiance, The Musical Ambassadors), a fellow American who I met in Berlin years ago, but who now is based out of Beijing, China.

When I started thinking about the music video, filmmaker Daniel Juan Martinz, from my home state, Michigan approached me to join up to direct and edit a music video.

𝐼 π‘€π‘Žπ‘  π‘£π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘¦ 𝑒π‘₯𝑐𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑑 π‘“π‘œπ‘Ÿ π‘‘β„Žπ‘–π‘  π‘œπ‘π‘π‘œπ‘Ÿπ‘‘π‘’π‘›π‘–π‘‘π‘¦ π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ 𝑀𝑒 π‘”π‘œπ‘‘ π‘‘π‘œ π‘€π‘œπ‘Ÿπ‘˜ π‘π‘Ÿπ‘Žπ‘–π‘›π‘ π‘‘π‘œπ‘Ÿπ‘šπ‘–π‘›π‘” π‘œπ‘› β„Žπ‘œπ‘€ π‘‘π‘œ π‘π‘Ÿπ‘’π‘Žπ‘‘π‘’ π‘Ž π‘šπ‘’π‘ π‘–π‘ π‘£π‘–π‘‘π‘’π‘œ π‘‘π‘œπ‘”π‘’π‘‘β„Žπ‘’π‘Ÿ π‘€π‘–π‘‘β„Ž π‘Ž 𝑏𝑖𝑔 π‘œπ‘π‘’π‘Žπ‘› π‘ π‘’π‘π‘Žπ‘Ÿπ‘Žπ‘‘π‘–π‘›π‘” 𝑒𝑠.

At one point in the process, I was in my living room, I had the camera on a tripod, then my phone on another tripod directed at the camera’s viewfinder that was on a video call with Dan so that I could get in the frame and he could tell me where to stand how to change the camera settings so he could direct from afar (Oh yes, Digital we are!)

π‘Šπ‘’ π‘€π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘π‘’π‘‘ π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π‘£π‘–π‘‘π‘’π‘œ π‘‘π‘œ β„Žπ‘Žπ‘£π‘’ π‘Žπ‘› π‘’π‘™π‘’π‘šπ‘’π‘›π‘‘ π‘œπ‘“ π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π‘π‘’π‘Žπ‘’π‘‘π‘¦ π‘œπ‘“ π‘›π‘Žπ‘‘π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘’ π‘π‘’π‘π‘Žπ‘’π‘ π‘’ π‘“π‘œπ‘Ÿ π‘šπ‘’, β„Žπ‘Žπ‘£π‘–π‘›π‘” π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ 𝑙𝑒π‘₯π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘¦ π‘‘π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘–π‘›π‘” π‘‘β„Žπ‘–π‘  π‘‘π‘–π‘šπ‘’ π‘‘π‘œ 𝑔𝑒𝑑 π‘œπ‘’π‘‘ 𝑖𝑛 π‘›π‘Žπ‘‘π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘’ β„Žπ‘Žπ‘  𝑏𝑒𝑒𝑛 π‘ π‘œπ‘šπ‘’π‘‘β„Žπ‘–π‘›π‘” π‘‘β„Žπ‘Žπ‘‘ β„Žπ‘Žπ‘  β„Žπ‘’π‘™π‘π‘’π‘‘ π‘šπ‘’ 𝑓𝑒𝑒𝑙 π‘”π‘Ÿπ‘œπ‘’π‘›π‘‘π‘’π‘‘.

So Dan created a beautiful collage of time lapsed blooming flowers and spinning starry skies. I projected the scenes of nature upon myself. I also joined up with Roman Wreden to help film other scenes in Stuttgart and surrounding areas.

We also wanted to capture the β€œwhispering in your ear” idea and in the end I projected a video of me singing to me. It all came full circle to sing the song to myself that I needed to hear.

𝐼 π‘‘π‘Ÿπ‘’π‘™π‘¦ β„Žπ‘œπ‘π‘’ π‘‘β„Žπ‘Žπ‘‘ π‘‘β„Žπ‘–π‘  π‘ π‘œπ‘›π‘” 𝑀𝑖𝑙𝑙 π‘π‘Ÿπ‘–π‘›π‘” π‘Ž π‘šπ‘œπ‘šπ‘’π‘›π‘‘ π‘œπ‘“ π‘π‘’π‘Žπ‘π‘’ π‘‘π‘œ π‘Žπ‘›π‘¦π‘œπ‘›π‘’ 𝑓𝑒𝑒𝑙𝑖𝑛𝑔 π‘œπ‘£π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘€β„Žπ‘’π‘™π‘šπ‘’π‘‘ π‘Žπ‘‘ π‘‘β„Žπ‘–π‘  π‘‘π‘–π‘šπ‘’. 𝐼 β„Žπ‘œπ‘π‘’ π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π‘Ÿπ‘’π‘šπ‘–π‘›π‘‘π‘’π‘Ÿ π‘‘π‘œ 𝑗𝑒𝑠𝑑 π‘‘π‘Žπ‘˜π‘’ 𝑖𝑑 π‘œπ‘›π‘’ π‘šπ‘–π‘›π‘’π‘‘π‘’ π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ π‘œπ‘›π‘’ π‘π‘Ÿπ‘’π‘Žπ‘‘β„Ž π‘Žπ‘‘ π‘Ž π‘‘π‘–π‘šπ‘’ 𝑀𝑖𝑙𝑙 β„Žπ‘’π‘™π‘ 𝑒𝑠 π‘π‘œπ‘™π‘™π‘’π‘π‘‘π‘–π‘£π‘’π‘™π‘¦ 𝑔𝑒𝑑 π‘‘β„Žπ‘Ÿπ‘œπ‘’π‘”β„Ž 𝑖𝑑 π‘Žπ‘™π‘™.

Sonic Fever project

“Of course, all of us can give and help by staying at home to flatten the curve, but as I asked myself, β€˜what else I can I do?,’ the first thing that always comes up in me is the desire to use my gifts to help make this world a better placeβ€œ, says Sally Grayson. And she had an idea: “So I decided to start writing songs that I hope will help a little to get us through this pandemic and bring hope in these times.β€œ

β€œI also sensed a great need to connect with people (be it digitally) more than ever because of all of the social distancing and isolation. So for each song I write, I’m incorporating different musicians I’ve never worked with before who also don’t know each other. In each song, I want at least one of the musicians to invite someone who I do not know as a positive metaphor for spreading a virus. This is also a means to grow connections within the artist community and to help keep us busy, especially musicians like myself who are usually playing live.”

For 2020 all digital sales will be donated to the organization, β€œTo Write Love on Her Arms.”

Their Vision statement says:

To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.

Grayson says,

β€œIn this time of such unprecedented social separation, where so many are struggling with fear and isolation, It thrills me to be able to collaborate and connect with other musicians and also to support TWLOHA who are there for people who are perhaps at their darkest places mentally. During this time, what I hope to communicate with this project is: You are not alone. Hold the Connection!”

More about Sally Grayson:

“πΆβ„Žπ‘Žπ‘›π‘”π‘’ π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π‘€π‘œπ‘Ÿπ‘™π‘‘ π‘€π‘–π‘‘β„Ž π‘šπ‘’π‘ π‘–π‘”

Anyone who has heard or seen the front woman of the Stuttgart Americana Desert Rock band “Black Swift” knows that she is serious.

Sally Grayson’s voice, which is reminiscent of good old blues with passion and clarity, and her profound lyrics are the heart and trademark of the combo. Now the American living in the Ludwigsburg area and known already for her performances on The Voice of Germany and her TEDx Talk, is on her solo path – with her own versions of Black Swift songs and a completely new repertoire.

The artist does not let go of her post-punk genre roots, but also ventures into new realms: Heartfelt Dark Folk or No Depression Melancholia it could be called – songs that are carried by guitar and Grayson’s unique voice, sometimes veering towards PJ Harvey, reminding one of Patti Smith, with a touch of Nick Cave’s melancholy in the package. But for Sally Grayson, melancholy in no way means staying in the past: Her first solo album is currently being created on the New Music Industry / Crowdfunding platform Patreon.

Every month she is publishing a new song on it and she is inviting her fans to be on the inside of the process of creating an album. As a collective they are invited to help with decisions such as which songs get chosen to eventually be on the finished album. And of course to help answer the question- β€œCan music help change the world?”

The Solidary Song lyrics:

In the midst of all the chaos,
In the midst of all the grief,
I wish you peace, peace, peace
I see the tears that have fallen
Upon your fearful face
And I wish you peace, peace, peace.
Oh, Peace upon you, Peace I wish you
Peace to your core, let peace in you be restored
Peace upon you, peace I wish you
Let peace in you be restored
As the darkness of your mind, awakes you in the night,
I wish you rest, and sleep and peace
Moonlight’s dark shadows
Creep upon your sleepless face
And I wish you rest, and calm and peace
Oh, Peace upon you, Peace I wish you
Peace to your core, let peace in you be restored
Peace upon you, peace I wish you
Let peace in you restore
Oh take it on day, take it one hour, take it one minute at a time
Take it one breath at a time.
Oh, Peace upon you, Peace I wish you
Peace to your core, let peace in you be restored
Peace upon you, peace I wish you
Let peace in you be restored
Like a sweet breeze cooling off your panicked thoughts
Like a warm comforter, covering your isolated mind
Hush! You are enough. You are enough right now
This is not forever.
This is not your forever
This too shall pass
I wish you peace

“Digital We Are”

π‘‡β„Žπ‘’ π‘“π‘–π‘Ÿπ‘ π‘‘ π‘ π‘œπ‘›π‘” 𝑖𝑛 𝑆𝑂𝑁𝐼𝐢 𝐹𝐸𝑉𝐸𝑅 𝑖𝑠 π‘Žπ‘π‘œπ‘’π‘‘ π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π‘π‘’π‘™π‘’π‘π‘Ÿπ‘Žπ‘‘π‘–π‘œπ‘› π‘œπ‘“ π‘‘π‘’π‘β„Žπ‘›π‘œπ‘™π‘œπ‘”π‘¦ π‘‘π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘–π‘›π‘” π‘‘β„Žπ‘–π‘  π‘‘π‘–π‘šπ‘’, π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ π‘‘β„Žπ‘Žπ‘‘ π‘Žπ‘™π‘‘β„Žπ‘œπ‘’π‘”β„Ž 𝑀𝑒 π‘Žπ‘Ÿπ‘’ π‘β„Žπ‘¦π‘ π‘–π‘π‘Žπ‘™π‘™π‘¦ π‘ π‘’π‘π‘Žπ‘Ÿπ‘Žπ‘‘π‘’, 𝑀𝑒 β„Žπ‘Žπ‘£π‘’ π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π‘€π‘œπ‘›π‘‘π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘“π‘’π‘™ π‘‘π‘œπ‘œπ‘™ π‘œπ‘“ π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π‘–π‘›π‘‘π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘›π‘’π‘‘, π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ 𝑖𝑑 π‘ β„Žπ‘œπ‘’π‘™π‘‘ 𝑏𝑒 𝑒𝑠𝑒𝑑 π‘‘π‘œ π‘Ÿπ‘’π‘Žπ‘β„Ž π‘œπ‘’π‘‘ π‘‘π‘œ π‘‘β„Žπ‘œπ‘ π‘’ 𝑀𝑒 π‘™π‘œπ‘£π‘’.

The song is called β€œDigital We Are” and features Mikey Elfers (Thirst Things First, The Killigans) from Lincoln, Nebraska on drums, Tommy Rehbein (Robsapien, Justin Courtney Pierre, Farewell Continental) from Minneapolis, Minnesota on guitar and Travis Collins (A.M.Stryker, We Are the Willows and Deleter) on bass also from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Live shows amidst pandemic

I’ve had the opportunity to still playtime shows in the area. Twice in the past months I’ve played at great venue in Stuttgart called “Wagenhallen“. They completely transformed their large venue into a TV production where they had a lights, camera and tech team. The rule was that only 5 people could be in the venue at one time, so the crews were set up outside in separate vans. They also set up a large projection opposite the stage where they projected scenes of large audiences. After each song, they would play a clap track, so at least it felt a little bit like a live show. This was live-streamed and after the show, they had a TV studio set up where I was interviewed. Although, I really miss playing live shows, that was certainly the next best thing.

Other artists worth a check:

My friends from XIXA released a beautiful live album that they recorded during a livestream during this pandemic: 

Kat Jones is also releasing a live album coming up soon, here’s the single that’s already been released:

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