Who knew, when this journey began, that I'd be at a video shoot for one of my songs? I sure didn't ever expect to be doing that, but it felt right to release this song with the hopes of compelling people to vote and to remind us all what an amazing and unique country we live in.
These are tumultuous times. Our country feels divided and at times, divisive even. I wrote this song when I was feeling particularly sad and angry at the state of our affairs. I was tired of being sad and angry. I was tired of feeling divided from my fellow Americans and my neighbors. My first pass at "Liberty" was, well, for lack of a better word, bitter. Every time I read my own lyrics, I felt bile building up in my throat. I'm a happy and free-spirited person and feeling bitter, sad, and angry absolutely wrecks me from the inside out. I did NOT want this song to perpetuate anyone's anger, especially my own. I didn't want it to divide us. What I wanted more than anything was to write something unifying. It took me six months to explore my feelings and re-write the song to reflect why I'm so proud to be an American.
I started thinking about the first time I could remember feeling enormous pride about being an American. It goes way, way back to my 9 year-old self, an aspiring gymnast and Junior Olympian, whose dream it was to represent the USA at the Olympics —the real Olympics. I was perched in front of the T.V. watching the opening ceremonies circa 1976 when Olga Korbut and Nadia Comaneci were set to compete. I couldn't wait! I studied each country and marveled at the athletes as they marched in. I watched it all with big eyes, a pounding heart and huge dreams. I imagined what they must be feeling, seeing, and hearing as they walked in. I began to notice that each country's athletes were fairly homogeneous looking. The British were mostly white, fairly fair skinned, the Chinese all looked similar, as did the Swedes and on down the line. As the U.S. entered with the Stars and Stripes, I felt this whoosh of pride that took my breath away. We were EVERYONE. We were the whole world! We were an amazing motley crew of diversity. We were Americans! We were different. We truly were a melting pot. We were a country of immigrants and we were absolutely colorful and beautiful in a way that no other country was. We were the big, glorious experiment of Democracy. I was so proud of my country. Those emotions still give me goosebumps.
I want to have goosebumps about this beautiful place. I want to feel proud and united again. Do you recognize this quote from the sonnet on the plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty?
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
~ Emma Lazarus
This is the essence of the United States of America. It's who we are. Most of us immigrated here, somewhere down our family line. Our ancestors showed up weary, broken, and desperate for a new life. That is what they found here. THAT is what we stand for on this world stage. That's one of the thousands of things that makes us unique, beautiful, and strong!
I hope this song will help unite us, and will remind us that "America's still beautiful because of you and me".
Any love, favorites, shares and plays you can give are so appreciated!
With love and gratitude, and huge American pride.