Here's present for you as you do your own New Years rituals, not just as an individual but as a citizen too.
I started writing In Spite of You after the 2017 inauguration of DJT. I just needed something to sing to myself after listening to the news, and often still do.
That year I was profoundly moved by an interview I saw with one of the founders of Otpor!, an activist group that used theater and the arts to cultivate a social movement in Serbia. Within just two years, the movement overthrew dictator Slobodan Milošević and held a democratic election.
Reflecting on why they won, I just loved what Srdja Popović said: "Their hatred, their propaganda, their language, smelled like death. And we won because we loved life more. We decided to love life, and you cannot beat life."
The title is inspired by Apesar de Você, from Brasilian artist/activist Chico Buarque. Despite being written about military dictatorship (noticing a theme here?) the song is infused with joy, power, and conviction.
Singing out to the forces within us and around us that are immutable, invincible.
Humongous thanks my beloved vocalists friends who came along for the ride for my first choral arrangement: Briget Boyle, Jesse Sachs, Jason Leith, Kele Nitoto, & Mandy Paige Bayless.
And a deep bow of gratitude to all the people who contributed to the emergence of this recording at different parts along the way: Rachel Efron, Moorea Dickason, David Sturdevant, Kyle Lemle, Paris Cole, Briget & Mandy again.