It’s been a hard year for teenagers to navigate, between the pandemic, virtual school and the racial justice protests that gripped the country. Nashville teens tackle those topics in WNXP’s Record of the Week, Sing Through the Quarantine.
The non-profit youth writing group, Girls Write Nashville, release their record March 26. It’s a mix of songs written and even produced by the program’s participants, with help from local artists.
15-year-old Tiana Williams was inspired by the chant, “No Justice, No Peace” from the protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Williams lost a family friend to gun violence, and she says she wanted to write a song that spoke to the movement.
“It’s been tough being an African American girl, or an African American in general,” Williams says. ” It’s kind of hard walking about the door and fearing for your life everyday. Tough having to wake up and wonder if this is going to be my last day on earth. It’s really heartbreaking. I’m an empathetic person and I just know, I can understand exactly how those families are feeling.”
The album puts on display a range of complex teenage emotions, from Williams’ more serious gospel-inspired song, to a screamo song about how frustrating life during a pandemic is.”
Ya know, I know this is going to sound crazy, but yes screaming my heart out about the pandemic did make me feel better,” says 15-year-old Lee Millán. “At the time I feel like it was so cathartic. All my songs are like vents, you know what I mean? I vent a lot in my songs and I just dress it up in pretty poetry. But I feel like when I think about it at the time I didn’t have any complex feelings about what was going on. It’s very fitting for this song, it’s not complex, it’s just emotive.”
Each student recorded their songs at home, using their phones and the app Bandlab for Education. Their recordings were then passed to local female studio musicians to complete the tracks. The result is an entirely remotely recorded album that gives a glimpse into teenage life during lock down.