Hey guys !
We have a really special song and video for you today – special for me at least …. For a number of reasons ….
The song is called “to be free” and it tells the story of my dad and his family .
Ziggy (my grandad) was German and Molly (my grandmother) was polish .
They were both jewish and living in Germany when the second world war was about to begin .
Luckily they managed to escape to a refugee camp in France where they spent the duration of the war .
Once the war was over they , like so many other jewish refugees , left Europe for America .
They ended up running a chicken farm in New Jersey in a town called Vineland which is where my dad and his siblings grew up . Needless to say with very little money and so much trauma it was an extremely difficult childhood for them .
My dad left Vineland as a teenager and went on to travel the world before finally ending up in England .
As I was growing up I heard snippets about their ordeal although understandably it wasn’t something that people wanted to talk about in any detail . Over the years I’ve pieced together a rough idea of what they went through and just how appalling and terribly sad the whole thing was .
Its something that I never thought I’d write a song about . Its such a delicate story that subconsciously I feel I’ve always steered clear of telling it .
However , whilst on holiday towards the end of last year I picked up my guitar and started playing . These lyrics came to me and all of a sudden I realised what song I was writing .
Im not ashamed to say that I wrote and sang and cried as the song tumbled out of me . I’ve never had an experience like it . It came from such a deep place and it was a bizarre feeling to be pulling it out and putting it in to a song .
For the video , it felt only write that we go back to New Jersey to film it .
We chose a little beach town called Avalon . Its a place that I went to many times as I was growing up as my aunt and uncle owned a little beach house there . I hadn’t been there in over ten years and honestly I didn’t have much of an idea of what the video should be – I just felt like it was the right place .
A few days before filming it we were in New York and hanging out with Emily – a friend of Jarred Seng who happens to be a world class ballet dancer (as you will see) we told her our plans (or lack there of) and she unbelievably kindly offered to choreograph something . I can’t thank her enough . Not only did she give up her time , drive over to Avalon and dance on a freezing cold beach for hours but she managed to portray such beauty and somehow capture the essence of the song perfectly . An unbelievable talent and a kindness that I will never forget . Thank you Emily xxx
I’d like to dedicate this song and video to anybody who has gone through or is going through a similar situation . For anyone that has been displaced . For anyone living in a new country , learning new customs and language .
America , like so many other countries , was built on immigration . Never has it been so important to remember and celebrate this fact .
Thank you for your time and I really hope you enjoy the video .
p.s a massive thanks as always to Jarrad Seng . What an incredible job to capture this in one take ….. unbelievable !!