“I wish you Oprah.” A friend of mine said that to me a few years back and it stuck with me. I liked the implication of that. Wishing me to live my best life…be the most authentic, shining, brilliant, true expression of myself. Yeah. I’ll take it. I’ve never been big on New Years resolutions, but this year something went pop and I made a rocking list that excites and inspires me to action. Near the top is this:
- Get “I Will Raise My Voice” to Oprah
First I wrote down that I wanted one of my songs to be used by major media to empower, inspire and encourage people. I still want that. But that was just a fancy way of saying I. Want. To. Sing. That. Song. On. Oprah.
When the seed for my song “I Will Raise My Voice” first planted itself in me and began to germinate, I said to myself: “I want to write something Oprah-worthy – something she would have on her show.” Sometimes I even fantasized about it being her theme song. Oprah’s all about living your best life, feeding your soul, and expressing your authentic self, right? And who doesn’t have to walk through some fear to get to those places? (Anybody who says “me” right here is lying…or actually Buddha.) Well, my song is about exactly that – walking through fear and raising your voice to express your truest self.
It’s also about being a candle in the darkness. “If I don’t sing no one can sing along…so I will sing.” Many of you have shared how much that song has touched or inspired you. Everywhere I sing it, people are really moved by it. And nothing moves me more than knowing that, feeling that. We all have a song to sing, at least metaphorically speaking. I don’t have a tragic tale to tell, didn’t struggle through great adversity…I’m just an average white girl from the Midwest. I had a modest but more than comfortable upbringing where my creativity and individuality was always encouraged. I went to an arts high school and a music college and excelled in both. I’ve been singing for a living for years. To top it off, I’m pretty and relatively thin. All of that positive reinforcement and I’m still afraid to speak. I still have to mount up tremendous courage to speak my peace and sing my song. Sometimes I think all I have going for me somehow diminishes my right to speak out. Who am I to say anything? What have I overcome compared to so many others? It’s utterly ridiculous, I know. As someone who believes in the inherent dignity and worth of every human being you’d think I’d stumble upon my own a bit sooner than my late 30’s. All this rambling to say….logic would dictate that if I need to hear this song there are bound to be some others who could benefit from it as well.
Which is why I want Oprah to hear it…so ERRYbody can hear it. Here’s my plan:
- find an appropriate address to send things to the Oprah camp.
- find 20, 30, 40+ people who are passionate enough about that song to send a letter to Oprah about it and enclose a CD (which I’ll provide, of course). The more copies that penetrate that giant machine the better chance it has of getting noticed. (Props to my new friend and beautifully gifted voice-raiser Joe Jencks for this brilliant idea.)
This is where you come in, my dear friends:
* Does that song inspire you enough to tell Oprah about it?
* Do you have an “in” to the Oprah world that you could share with me or use to further this endeavor? Like Gayle’s mobile number or something…?
I would love to hear from you if this moves you in any way or you have any ideas for me about this.
In case you’re unfamiliar or just need a fix, this is the album version of “I Will Raise My Voice” in all its organ-kissed, choir-blessed glory:
"I Will Raise My Voice" album version
And here is a video of me singing this at the FARM (Folk Alliance Region Midwest) conference last October. It’s not a perfect performance but I love the energy and spirit of it. Mostly I love that people are singing along. Amen.
"I Will Raise My Voice" live at FARM
Thank you for reading this. I wish you Oprah.