Ten years ago, my friend and fellow musician, Daniel Tyler Pohnke, called me and said he'd had a dream that I was the voice of Mother Earth in a song he had just composed. It was nearing Earth Day 2011, and he wanted to release this song in honor of that years' celebrations. He asked me to be on the recording, and I was honored by the invitation and immediately agreed to do it. The next day, I went to his home where he had a small studio set up in the basement and we recorded, "The Earth Speaks and Sings, How Am I Going to Reach You?"
The next day, his partner and producer, Mai Segev, set to making a music video. After releasing it a few days later, it was shared with a number of environmental organizations, including one based in New Orleans that had been doing work to clean up the Gulf immediately after the BP Oil Spill Deep Horizon disaster. I then received a call asking if I would come to New Orleans to perform the song at a benefit concert at the House of Blues where Dr. John, Anders Osbourne, Tab Benoit, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, and a number of other beloved local New Orleans-based artists would also be performing that night. I was thrilled at the invitation and made my way to New Orleans.
That event changed my life and introduced me to an incredible community of artists and activists. Dr. John and I met, and he invited me to be part of his Soulfire for the Gulf event, where we worked to bring indigenous leaders to the Gulf to pray for the healing of the water. It was a very powerful experience, and I am deeply grateful to Daniel for being the catalyst to make it happen.
A few months ago, I learned that Daniel had passed away unexpectedly in May of 2020, leaving his wife Mai and three-year-old son behind. I was devastated to hear this news. He was in his early forties, a beloved husband and father, and an incredible shining light who sought to bring joy and healing to the world through music.
In honor of his memory, I am re-releasing this music video on the ten-year anniversary of its creation with a dedication to him towards the end. I hope that you will join me in celebrating Earth Day and honor Daniel's memory by listening to the deep, heartfelt message of the song.
Please watch through until the end, like, leave a comment, and share, because it spikes the algorithm and tells YouTube to suggest it to new listeners.
Thanks for the love and may we all play a small part in creating a more healthy and sustainable planet for all.