A nation was stunned and horrified at the senseless shooting spree that took the lives of 49 innocent people and injured at least another 53 at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in the early hours of June 12. One of those heartbroken over the tragedy was Melissa Etheridge, who long has been an openly gay singer. She decided the only way she could cope was to write a song inspired by and paying homage to the victims.
Etheridge wrote the song “Pulse” as not only a cathartic way to deal with the tragedy but to rally people around idea that love is still the answer. The song begins with finding a commonality of people rather than calling certain groups out.
“Everybody's got a pain inside / Imaginary wounds they fight to hide / How can I hate them /
When everybody's got a pulse?”
In the midst of pundits knee-jerking about needed gun laws and radical Islam, Etheridge's lyrics speak of understanding and the belief that there is a need for unity not just for gays, but for all human beings.
“When I hear someone has taken an automatic rifle and gunned down [49 people] at 2 a.m. in the morning at a gay bar, I feel pain for everyone involved,” Etheridge told New Times in a call from New Hampshire, a show stop on her current tour. “You’ve got to be in your own private hell, your deep darkest homophobia to do that.
“To me, it was the manifestations of all our hates and fears that has been in the headlines for the last month.”
Some of Etheridge’s "Pulse" lyrics seem to be pointed right at the shooter.
“Who ya gonna hate now/ When there's no one left but you?/ Who you gonna gun down / If you can't kill the truth?”
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Etheridge, who played in Phoenix last fall and is currently touring the East Coast, was able to corral producer Jerry Wonda, who worked on her 2014 studio album This Is M.E., and her band to lay down the track in one day at Platinum Sound Recording Studios in New York City.
“It was such a labor of love,” says the two-time Grammy-winner. “He [Wonda] brought in my band, and I am not using them now [on tour]. They came in, and it was a day of humanity and love. We all love. My management was able to get it out the next day. I am just really grateful and so appreciative of everyone that helped me to get this song out into the world.”
The song is now available on iTunes. All proceeds go to Equality Florida, which is both a political advocacy group which advocates for civil rights and protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents of Florida.
“As artists, we’re going to be creating, and there’s going to be legions of hearing and creativity coming from this, because that’s what we do as humans, and to be inspired,” Etheridge says. “Find out what you can do in your house, in your family, in your neighborhood. That’s what you can do; being kind to someone, it can change a life, it can change your life. That’s what’s needed here is our own inner balance of this and dedication."