We Can Stay Quiet or We Can Decide to Speak Out
We discussed this long before it ever happened: what would we do when someone told us to keep our opinions to ourselves?
The more we've found ourselves in the 'public eye' the more people have cautiously warned us, "People are paying attention to what you girls are doing. You need to be careful not to alienate your audience with your words and actions."
Taylor and I have received our fair share of comments opposing the opinions we've posted on blogs and social media. We've also been told that lately our music has taken a more political bent—which we find interesting, because the music really hasn't changed.
As artists, we don't want to play it safe in order to build a bigger audience, only to have them feel alienated by us in the future. I've watched some of my favorite groups (e.g. The Dixie Chicks, Gungor, etc.) build 'solid' followings only to be dismantled by their fan base when they vocalized their beliefs.
The songs we're creating are born from our own experiences, observations or reflections. Sometimes that manifests itself as songs about dating, dancing, self-worth, familial relationships, mental health—any number of things. Creating songs that are "super commercial" or "safe for consumption" has never been the priority. We're willing to have a smaller audience if it means we get to create music that is meaningful and authentic to who we are.
In response to the comment that our music is "changing", Taylor and I decided to take a trip down memory lane to see just how much our songwriting has evolved since the inception of Chasing Lovely...
Chasing Lovely's first EP "Breathless" was recorded in 2011. It opens with a song called "Feel The Flames." Some of my favorite lines from the song include:
A grown man knows that he shouldn't be hitting on sixteen year old girls OR
You look like a nice guy, the creepy things you hide haven't gone over my head OR
Don't go playing stupid with me like you don't know exactly what I'm talking about OR
You're outnumbered: ticked-off-woman to one
Nobody thought this song was remotely political when we used to perform it. Sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and inappropriate sexual advances are problems women and girls have been dealing with for ages. It's taken far too long for these stories to be heard, to be taken seriously, and for these actions to be deemed unacceptable and intolerable.
It was never about politics.
Taylor wrote a blog post about being followed into a public restroom by a male predator—released years before it became a 'hot topic.' It was met with comments of "me too" before we knew those two words would start a movement to reveal the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment in our culture.
A song called "Barbie Doll" also found its way onto that 2011 EP. It was written in frustration about the unending criticism and bullying women endure for their appearance. We wanted to shout, "THERE IS SO MUCH MORE TO WHO WE ARE THAN YOU CAN GATHER AT FIRST GLANCE!" But instead Taylor wrote those feelings into a song and we performed it from the stage night after night for years.
You can tell me I'm ugly—that I'll never be pretty
Cuz I'm either to fat or I'm far too skinny.
I'll keep it real, you keep your plastic.
I am more than a measure you can tell me I'll never be
anything more than I see in the mirror.
Close me in and make me feel small...
But I ain't gonna be your Barbie Doll.
In 2012 we recorded a video to a song we wrote called "Colors."
Momma didn't like her colors
Daddy couldn't fix it with his paint
What she needed most was love
but couldn't find it drowned in all the hate
Katie's heart was colored grey
They took her to a doctor
They took her to a shrink
They took her to the chapel to wash those colors clean
They couldn't fight the feelings that were rooted in her heart
What they didn't understand is you can't fix a work of art
She took her daddy's silence and she took her momma's tears
She couldn't paint their perfect picture here
Simply put, the song was about a young gay girl who's parents and society rejected her. This was at a time when we were pursuing a career in country music. I don't think I knew what liberal/conservative even meant at the time, let alone what side of the spectrum being accepting of the LGBTQ+ community fell on.
Then came "Out Of My Mind", a song about battling mental illness.
Some say she's out of her mind
Oh but she says, well that would be nice...
I wish I were out of my mind
Out of my mind,
I want out of my mind
While the song made some folks squirm in their seats, it also got them thinking: maybe this really is out of their control...maybe they are trying to fight it.
It was never about politics.
There is no denying that tension in the political climate has reached a boiling point. Issues are being discussed and conversations are being had that are long overdue. Our society at large is beginning to see how systems put in place by our government intrinsically help some groups of people while holding others back. This has been happening since the beginning of time, but we are waking up to how large the disparities between different people groups are.
If our country suddenly feels political to you, it's because issues that we've been avoiding as a nation are finally being exposed. The issues have always been there, they simply have not been addressed.
So when we release songs like "Always & Never Enough" it's because this is what we're feeling and wrestling with. It's because as a society we don't care enough about people who fall on hard times and end up homeless. It's because we are more concerned about refugees being terrorists than recognizing their humanity and welcoming them with open arms—and that's disturbing. We see photos of a toddler's lifeless body washed up on shore because he was fleeing violence in his home country and we count him as a number rather than a life. It's because we haven't been told the whole truth about our nation's history of violence and degradation against native and black Americans and the real-life impact it still has.
With that, here are a few things you should know about us here at Chasing Lovely:
We would rather feel free to be who we are than have loads of success.
We refuse to stay silent on the things that matter.
Absolutely nothing has changed.
We are creating new songs that we are incredibly excited to share with you all. One in particular called "Speak Out" which is the current reflection of America. Lyrics include:
Speak out, raise your voice
everyday we have a choice
To give in, to give up
Silence at a time like this is dangerous
The people united will not be divided.
We're not going backwards.
We're gonna keep rising.
It's not left, or right
It's human lives on the line, human lives
We can stand back and watch the world burn
Open our hearts and stand up for each other
The time is now, no backing down—
We can stay quiet or we can decide to speak out.
Thank you to those of you who encourage us to keep making music and all of you who support us as we create.
Our convictions are strong.