Earlier this month, Cam gave an incisive NPR interview to Country Universe favorite Jewly Hight, in which the former psychology grad student shared her thoughts on the unifying power of music:
Did you know that when a choir sings, the [singers’] heartbeats all align? Music physically puts people in this space. And I see it when I sing. I see our faces looking at each other. Everybody’s in a moment, you know? Music is this way of communicating, soul to soul, what is going on. … In psychology you can even use music to prime people emotionally before you have them do tasks. It’s a great way to get at being sad or understanding a lot of those emotions. Exploring that is so helpful, trying to help all of us understand ourselves.
This quote is particularly apt this month, as we struggle to find a meaningful path forward after yet another senseless, horrific tragedy in Orlando. In such overwhelmingly dark times, I’ve been at a loss for words or thoughts that don’t feel like empty platitudes. Living overseas, I’ve also felt helplessly detached from the communities that are hurting. So I’ve turned to music.
Music hasn’t distracted or comforted me, though it’s done both at different points in my life; rather, it’s helped me feel connected to something bigger than myself, to a humanity that’s been frustratingly buried in the national discourse around the tragedy. In one of the better singles of the year, Maren Morris confesses that music is her portal to a higher power: “Yeah I guess that’s my church,” she growls about singing along to Hank Williams and Johnny Cash. It’s mine, too.
Unsurprisingly, 2016’s leading female country artists have been my antidote over the past few weeks. I’ve yearned alongside Morris in “I Could Use A Love Song.” I’ve shared in Jennifer Nettles’ humility in “Salvation Works.” I’ve absorbed Brandy Clark’s exquisite blend of loss, anger and defeat in “Since You’ve Gone to Heaven.” Like a choir with a unified heartbeat, their expressions have lifted mine and given me an outlet that I simply couldn’t find elsewhere.
Share your stories below about the ways music has impacted you, and if you haven’t read the rest of Hight’s terrific interview with Cam, get to it.