Must Hear Katrina Song
I was so moved, in fact, that I had to track down its composer, Irvin Lee, who turned out to be a rather unassuming man, a modest music producer located in Fairfax, Virginia. He informed me that he wrote the piece and plays all the instruments, and that a friend of his, Allen Watty, did the vocals. If this hastily-created spiritual is any indication of the duoâ€™s potential, I expect big things to be in store for the both of them
I wept the first time I heard The Hurricane Song, a plaintive tune which succinctly summarizes the events which unfolded in the wake of Katrina, all without ever resorting to finger-pointing. I was so moved, in fact, that I had to track down its composer, Irvin Lee, who turned out to be a rather unassuming man, a modest music producer located in Fairfax, Virginia. He informed me that he wrote the piece and plays all the instruments, and that a friend of his, Allen Watty, did the vocals. If this hastily-created spiritual is any indication of the duoâ€™s potential, I expect big things to be in store for the both of them.
BSN: What inspired you to write such a powerful song?
IL: Basically, watching the hurricane footage, and being touched by it. And then as the days went by, I was absolutely moved beyond anything normal. I began to questioning what I was looking at. After the second day, I figured it couldnâ€™t any further than that, but days went by! Days went by!
BSN: I loved your choice of lyrics which touched on everything, and so poignantly.
IL: That was the challenge. After watching what I saw, I felt a gamut of emotions I wanted to express. But I knew that to write a song, I had to limit myself. First, I wrote down many more words than I ultimately used. Then I had to refine it, and pay attention to the subjects I wanted to cover. Of course, I couldnâ€™t cover them all, but I did cover the areas that most affected me and that I thought were affecting most people I was talking to. I took my time. It definitely was an emotional thing for me.
BSN: Sounds like you felt compelled to write it?
IL: It was something I had to do, as opposed to something I just wanted to do.
BSN: What is your musical background?
IL: I have a studio, called Music You Can Feel, and our first artist is Allen Watty. We were already working on album, with lyrics about life and life. Weâ€™re trying to go back to songs that move you and make you think.
BSN: Like Marvin Gayeâ€™s Whatâ€™s Going On?
IL: Thatâ€™s right. Itâ€™s very emotional. Weâ€™ve been getting rave reviews from those whoâ€™ve heard it.
BSN: What instruments do you play on The Hurricane Song?
IL: Everything, electric piano, acoustic piano, drums, bass, synthesizer.
BSN: Where did you study music? In school? In church?
IL: Nowhere. Iâ€™m self-taught.
BSN: How much did you and Allen practice before making the recording?
IL: This is going to surprise you, he never rehearsed the song. He sang it on the spot. I gave it to him to listen to on a little digital recorder. He took a couple of minutes to go over it, and then he said, â€œIâ€™m ready.â€?
BSN: Who are your musical influences?
IL: Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind and Fire, all the great ones. I canâ€™t pick one over the others.
BSN: What has been the reaction to The Hurricane Song? I would expect that music industry execs will be pounding on your door before long?
IL: Mos Def called me. He went on and on about how great the song was and how anybody heâ€™s hipped it to thinks itâ€™s great.
BSN: Is it getting a lot of radio airplay?
IL: Not really, Iâ€™ve spoken to program directors who actually said they thought their audiences wouldnâ€™t want to hear it.
BSN: Iâ€™m surprised because it doesnâ€™t have a political agenda or do any finger-pointing. I think it ought to be a hit playing on every pop music station, and you deserve to make some decent money for writing such a remarkable song.
IL: For me, making it and getting the message out, was accomplishing what I was trying to do. I wasnâ€™t trying to make any money from it.
BSN: Thatâ€™s a beautiful sentiment. However, from my perspective, I still feel that whoever wrote and performed on this song ought to make ten million dollars from it.
IL: I hear what youâ€™re saying, but Iâ€™d be happy if ten million people just heard it. If that happened, then Iâ€™d be where I want to be, brother.
BSN: Alright, brother, I appreciate that, but I still want you to make some money or at least have your career take off from this.
IL: Take care, brother.
BSN: Peace, bro.
Readers please also visit www.hurricanesong.com to hear the song
â€œThen it hit me
Ainâ€™t nobody coming to get me
No one feels my pain
The color of my skin reminds me
Things ainâ€™t changed
Begging you for water
Again and again
Please donâ€™t make me drink the water
That Iâ€™m standing inâ€¦â€?â€”Excerpted from The Hurricane Song by Irvin Lee
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