Back in June, shortly after the George Floyd protests broke out, two African American artists and I found ourselves sitting around a kitchen table in Santa Cruz, CA talking about systemic racism, police brutality, divisive politics, and everything in between. We talked about how music and art are the best ways we know how to bring healing into the conversation and decided to forge a collaboration, though it wasn't yet clear what that would look like. We talked about doing theater where black and white women would have difficult conversations or break it down through expressive dance. In the process of exploring the collaboration, the fires broke out across the West Coast, my father passed away, and I started having anxiety attacks on an almost daily basis.
When the smoke had finally cleared and I was able to return home, I reached out to people I love and trust and threw myself into producing a new project with the friends mentioned above. Making meaningful music with people I love made this an incredibly healing project, and my anxiety has since subsided. The process helped me remember why I do what I do, and how important it is to share music that makes a difference. The result of this healing process is the song and music video, Behind Your Eyes.
Behind Your Eyes is about stretching ourselves in order to see through the eyes of another -- to expand our minds with curiosity rather than fear, with hope rather than hate. It's about questioning our limited perspectives and opening our minds to new possibilities while realizing that things don't always have to be seen in black and white.
Co-produced with my dear friend Deenie Rose, who also worked on my album, Natural State, the recording is sparse and features myself on piano and acclaimed bassist, Dan Robbins on bowed and fretless bass. The video features modern, improvisational dance by the incredibly stunning hip/hop artist and choreographer Makana Curtiss, and was filmed by my nephew, Nachum Daniel, with assistance from my husband Avi and fellow Santa Cruz artist/performer, Sarah Cruse. It was filmed just a few weeks ago at Keith Greeninger's Wind River Studios in Santa Cruz's Happy Valley, and I directed and edited the final cut. I co-wrote the song with Alan Roy Scott, a veteran songwriter and founder of Music Bridges, an organization that has been bringing people together through the power of music in conflict regions for the past 40 years. If you'd like to see some of the amazing photos from the recording and filming process, please follow me on Instagram.