Trump and the U.S. government supposedly gave Turkey the green light on military strikes in Syria, again, attacking Kurdish forces, stating that they are developing terrorism in the area.
Kurdish musicians have also felt the consequences. Members of ‘Dewran’ who performs songs in Turkish language at weddings, as well as members of another band, have been detained on grounds of inciting terrorism with their propaganda.
We at Shouts call for these artists’ immediate release.
Unfortunately, the above mentioned musicians are not the only examples of artist oppression for the Kurdish people. Find more examples below and also check out our interview with Lee Brickley about his album ‘Songs for Rojava’.
Our spotlight today will be on a conscious musician out of New York City. Jon Davis is a classically trained artist that beliefs in the empowering side of mainstream music.
Jon told us via email how it is his goal to “to inspire people to connect to a greater inner spirit of positivity, and inner growth, and challenge the constructs that all commercial music has to be unidimensional and focus only on indulgence rather than love and growth.”
What issues drive you or motivate you to write a song?
I’m a big advocate for spiritual health, and mental wellness. I believe that mainstream music too often focuses on negative emotions, and reactivity. Life isn’t perfect and art has a responsibility to capture all layers of the experience; however people still need art that reflects hope, even in the expression of pain. I look to modern day artists like Sia, P!NK, and Lady Gaga who have managed to bridge the gap between the mainstream media and lyrical substance. I also pull a lot of my inspiration from Whitney Houston, Luther Vandross, Michael Jackson, and Freddie Mercury.
Both the substance of the music and substance of the artist inspires the listener to think creatively about about life. That to me is the ultimate accomplishment a musician can have, commercial success while still inspiring thought and substance in your music.
I focus on love and inner power in my music. I aspire to create music that communicates honestly to the listener, while shedding light on both the romantic and undesirable side of the journey to self discovery, the thrashing pain when dreams don’t manifest in the way we were promised they would as children, and the draw to continue pursuing an ideal even after defeat and disappointment.
Ultimately, my goal is for my music to push people to go inward and listen to the little voice inside more than the enormous and subduing voice of the collective, which is why there is a blend of commercial sounds mixed with “anthematic” and “rallying cry” inspirations. I try to always express my emotions openly while showing the inner struggle to push past the voices of doubt, shame, guilt, and feelings of unworthiness.
Do you partake in any sort of activism outside the music?
I donate music to an organization called Songs of Love which writes custom music for terminally ill children. As a performer and writer, the most challenging thing to give away is energy and time, but it’s also the most impactful thing a person can give. Donating music for such a compassionate cause keeps me humble and pulls me out of the egocentric, and often negative reality of working in the music industry.
It reminds me that despite all the challenges, this whole profession is about touching people, even if only for 3 minutes, and that momentary disruption in the day to day can save lives. It brings us freedom from the confusion and disappointment of reality, and makes life more interesting, manageable, and ultimately conquerable.
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