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

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, “The Solidary Song,” was intended to convey a message of PEACE.  But as the release date approached (June 5th) she wondered, “how 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. “Solidary” means: “existing jointly and severally.”  As in: we are all in this together, seperate in our own homes.  But this word also stems from the word “Solidarity.” And solidarity is finally gaining traction with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Comments Sally:

“First 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 𝑤𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑙𝑦𝑟𝑖𝑐𝑠 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑜𝑛𝑔 𝑡𝑜 𝑏𝑒 𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦 𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑤𝑎𝑟𝑑 𝑏𝑒𝑐𝑎𝑢𝑠𝑒 𝑖𝑛 𝑚𝑜𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑠 𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝑤𝑒 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑓𝑖𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑑 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑠, 𝐼 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑘 𝑤𝑒 𝑛𝑒𝑒𝑑 𝑎 𝑑𝑖𝑟𝑒𝑐𝑡 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑐𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑟 𝑚𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑎𝑔𝑒. 𝐴𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑚𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑎𝑔𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝐼 𝑤𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑠ℎ𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑏𝑎𝑟𝑒𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑒𝑑: 𝑃𝐸𝐴𝐶𝐸.

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, “If 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. “This too shall pass,” “You 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 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦 𝑒𝑥𝑐𝑖𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑜𝑝𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡𝑢𝑛𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑤𝑒 𝑔𝑜𝑡 𝑡𝑜 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑘 𝑏𝑟𝑎𝑖𝑛𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑜𝑛 ℎ𝑜𝑤 𝑡𝑜 𝑐𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑡𝑒 𝑎 𝑚𝑢𝑠𝑖𝑐 𝑣𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑜 𝑡𝑜𝑔𝑒𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑎 𝑏𝑖𝑔 𝑜𝑐𝑒𝑎𝑛 𝑠𝑒𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑢𝑠.

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!)

𝑊𝑒 𝑤𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑣𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑜 𝑡𝑜 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑎𝑛 𝑒𝑙𝑒𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑏𝑒𝑎𝑢𝑡𝑦 𝑜𝑓 𝑛𝑎𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑒 𝑏𝑒𝑐𝑎𝑢𝑠𝑒 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑚𝑒, ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑙𝑢𝑥𝑢𝑟𝑦 𝑑𝑢𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑔𝑒𝑡 𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑖𝑛 𝑛𝑎𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑒 ℎ𝑎𝑠 𝑏𝑒𝑒𝑛 𝑠𝑜𝑚𝑒𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 ℎ𝑎𝑠 ℎ𝑒𝑙𝑝𝑒𝑑 𝑚𝑒 𝑓𝑒𝑒𝑙 𝑔𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑑.

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 “whispering 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 𝑡𝑟𝑢𝑙𝑦 ℎ𝑜𝑝𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑠𝑜𝑛𝑔 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑏𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑎 𝑚𝑜𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑝𝑒𝑎𝑐𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑎𝑛𝑦𝑜𝑛𝑒 𝑓𝑒𝑒𝑙𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑙𝑚𝑒𝑑 𝑎𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒. 𝐼 ℎ𝑜𝑝𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑟𝑒𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑟 𝑡𝑜 𝑗𝑢𝑠𝑡 𝑡𝑎𝑘𝑒 𝑖𝑡 𝑜𝑛𝑒 𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑢𝑡𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑜𝑛𝑒 𝑏𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑡ℎ 𝑎𝑡 𝑎 𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 ℎ𝑒𝑙𝑝 𝑢𝑠 𝑐𝑜𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑣𝑒𝑙𝑦 𝑔𝑒𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑔ℎ 𝑖𝑡 𝑎𝑙𝑙.

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, ‘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 place“, 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.“

“I 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, “To 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,

“In 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:

“𝐶ℎ𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑙𝑑 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑚𝑢𝑠𝑖𝑐”

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- “Can 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”

𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑓𝑖𝑟𝑠𝑡 𝑠𝑜𝑛𝑔 𝑖𝑛 𝑆𝑂𝑁𝐼𝐶 𝐹𝐸𝑉𝐸𝑅 𝑖𝑠 𝑎𝑏𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑒𝑙𝑒𝑏𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑜𝑓 𝑡𝑒𝑐ℎ𝑛𝑜𝑙𝑜𝑔𝑦 𝑑𝑢𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑎𝑙𝑡ℎ𝑜𝑢𝑔ℎ 𝑤𝑒 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑝ℎ𝑦𝑠𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑦 𝑠𝑒𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑒, 𝑤𝑒 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑜𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑟𝑓𝑢𝑙 𝑡𝑜𝑜𝑙 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑛𝑒𝑡, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑖𝑡 𝑠ℎ𝑜𝑢𝑙𝑑 𝑏𝑒 𝑢𝑠𝑒𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑐ℎ 𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑡𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑜𝑠𝑒 𝑤𝑒 𝑙𝑜𝑣𝑒.

The song is called “Digital 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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