Approaching a new dialogue with kindness and compassion during unstable times
Songwriter Abby K reflects on the day the world came to a screeching halt.
Our world has changed. I can’t find one single person that has not been deeply effected by this Pandemic.
It’s changed the way we all think, the way we treat each other and how we live our lives.
Covid-19 has become a silent obstacle that has forced us all to change.
The Songwriter series I am developing highlights real stories from our music storie tellers. The creators of today are suffering yet bravely tackling the challenges one day at a time and emerging even more powerful that before.
They have been forced to reflect inward and as a result, we are seeing music that will become a time capsule held still in history.
These are their stories..
Songwriter ABBY K
Straddling the line between classic Americana and traditional acoustic folk, Abby K crafts an interwoven patchwork of soundscapes that reflect her journey with airy grace. Abby’s sound taps into a variety of influences, including her Kentucky roots, her Midwest authenticity, and the grit of her adopted home between the mountains and sea.
After a lifetime east of the Mississippi, Abby K landed in the Pacific Northwest music scene with nothing but her guitar, a handful of songs, and a big desire to dive into the vibrant community. Determined to find her true voice, Abby took every opportunity to get out there and play: participating in songwriting circles, open mikes, showcases, and traveling tours.
Now she’s reflecting on this last 8 months and how she is now approaching a new dialogue with kindness and compassion during unstable times.
When the world came to a screeching halt, it gave me a moment to just stop. To stop and have a chance to take a deep breath. To just be; inhale.
There isn’t another moment in my life when I’ve had that chance to just stop. Nothing mattered except the health of my family. Everything was different; including music.
Music was my window to the world, the window to my heart, and the window to my ability to cope. And since that crazy day in March, I have held onto music as one of my lifelines.
Suddenly the music changed in that the topics I wrote about felt a whole lot weightier. The topics that mattered to me last October when I released my third album, “The Whole Truth”, seemed less critical than the social injustices that had been right in front of me all along.
Suddenly I could see these issues, or retrospectively I was confronted with them and decided to see them. And singing about much else lacked the relevance or purpose when contemplating what to write.
My goals as a songwriter and plea are to open our eyes and consider humanity, people of all types with all different points of view.
My plea is to consider the longer-term consequences of the actions we take today. My plea to choose truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. My plea to be a part of a solution for positive change rather than complicit to reality. I can help make a change. We ALL can help make positive changes.
When the world changed, so did my music.
It started in January of this year, six weeks before the world shut down. I was touring for my latest album in California and began writing a song from a sign I had seen in a small town on the side of the road, “It’s Okay Not to be Okay”.
How did they know what was coming?
Rather, how is it that I had failed to realize that nothing felt okay at that very moment? And so my song was born; a prescient moment I had no idea would have such a significant impact.
The world was NOT okay. The mental health of the world and millions in it was crumbling by the second.
The depression, suicide rates, and the government’s house of cards began its inevitable downfall. This was my life driving across the state of California, land of the free, and sunshine. Nothing felt quite as divided as my sense of existence.
Accepting that, being NOT okay, is hard.
Most ignore it rather than admitting it and dealing with it. And talking about it? No way. We live in a country where we’re taught vulnerability and sadness is a state of weakness. Just look at the administration running our country; putting down those who show weakness, or who are different with unique challenges.
Or condoning vile hatred and violence of those believing their skin color defines supreme power.
How could I be a part of a country with these values? Nothing made sense of how we got to where we were at. Nothing looked the same to me from that moment on.
And so I changed. Not my viewpoints as my core values are exactly the same as they have always been. But my voice changed and my empowerment to speak for the injustices dominating my surroundings.
No topic felt off-limits with the concern of offending someone. Because NOT speaking out against wrong is the only crime committed. Complicitness.
When it came time to create a music video, the video needed to depict the world exactly as it is in ways that might be hard to notice.
The song is a wake-up call. It is a call to action to dig deep, think for yourself, and decide the type of person you want to be moving forward.
It is reflective, so I begin the song doing just that; walking amongst the greatest gifts we have all been given, nature.
Quickly moving into the start of the song’s first verse watching it slowly vanish, “only thinking for today.” I ask: how am I a part of this problem and what am I going to do to be a part of a viable solution?
Moving into this chorus, I intentionally begin to bring it back to actual people. A reminder that we never truly know what another person is battling. Approaching dialogue with kindness and compassion seems to be an important reminder at such unstable times we are all living in. A reminder that just because you can’t actually cry, doesn’t mean life’s “All Good.”
Verse two begins to address a problem I have been blessed not to experience: homelessness. I live in a city where hundreds live amongst the streets, under highways, and encampments with no one paying attention to help them trying to survive.
Yes, some organizations address this problem, but the problem has grown larger than most cities can handle. I ask: why have I been given opportunities that those with different skin color or economic backgrounds have not been granted?
Aren’t we all human beings?
Is this how we take care of each other in times of trouble?
Haven’t we all just become a little too comfortably numb?
We want to hear from you..
How has the pandemic effected your life? How have you changed as a result of these past 8 month?
Written by Jacqueline Jax : Interview with Abby K
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