Musician JØUR Reflects On Politics, The American Dream & Using Her Voice As A Form Of Resistance


“What if I can’t wake up from this American Dream?”
I feel like I’m pinching myself a lot lately. A lot the last 2 years. No, this is not a dream. We are here in this time and place in history, and yes, Donald Trump is our President. While I can’t say that I wrote my song “American Nightmare” with the express purpose of making a political commentary (I wrote it before Donald Trump’s foray into politics, more specifically about the American Dream), it took on a new, eerie meaning to me as our political atmosphere trended his direction in 2016. What I had written was unwittingly and unfortunately prophetic, and for me and many others, this is the American Nightmare.

“Beware the ground on which you stand / Dust storms are formed from grains of sand.”
I am forced to think about the dust storms that have been created – both good and bad. In one respect, there are the millions of voters who elected Trump as our President. Then there are the millions of female voices that stood up in the Women’s March, and are standing up in the #MeToo movement.

What is common of all dust storms, however, is that each individual represents a part of the whole, and we are those individuals, those grains of sand. It then matters greatly how each of us responds to these overwhelming movements in our society. We are among the voices in the collective whole, and we play a part in driving its course.

“We want a renaissance / Start over.”
Tension in society inevitably forces a response from its inhabitants – cultural manifestations in the form of music, visual art, literature, performance art, and any number of other creative vehicles and commentary. We, as those grains of sand, are the creators of this culture. If there is a nightmare in our country right now, the hope of waking up lies with the individuals who voice their protest through these different outlets. We have the power to steer the winds of change.

For me, songwriting has been a particular outlet as I process our greater social tensions in America. While “American Nightmare” grew into a meaningful catharsis related to our political situation, I penned other songs on my upcoming album, Chiaroscuro, that are a specific response to my grief over the condition of our nation, the prevailing attitudes of many of its people, and the tragic ways that specific communities are experiencing oppression at the hands of our police force and government.

While I don’t expect my individual songs to enact dramatic social change, I see each work as a piece of the greater fabric that is weaving a new narrative for our country. It is a voice in the choir, making it just a little louder.

While for others it may not be songwriting, I believe it’s important for each of us to practice processing and responding to movements in our society. Finding that outlet for ourselves is fundamental to navigating these harsh times. We don’t need to expect to change the world or even one another, but our individual voices matter a great deal in the volume of the choir, and the size of the dust storm we are swept up in.


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