Why "Music for Heroes"?


If you enjoy my music, chances are good that its themes and emotions of compassion, heroism, love, and rebellion against repressive, arbitrary authority resonate with you. Everyone is the hero of their own story, but in other people's stories you might be seen as a villain. Such is the nature of humanity. In the end, however, the heroes who act from a place of compassion are always on the right side of history. They are the ones remembered as changing life and society for the better.

The illustration featured on my blog page, Eugène Delacroix's The Revolt of Lucifer and the Rebel Angels (1876),  symbolizes this reality of heroes. From Milton's time through the Romantic era, there were many notable authors and poets who turned the Satan myth around and made Lucifer/Satan the noble hero fighting against an unjust tyrant. Their writings were allegories for the concepts underlying the French (and later American) revolutions. Concepts and ideals inspiring the people to replace an oppressive rule by monarchy and church with personal freedom and individual pursuit of happiness. This recasting of the revolt of angels as a positive archetype for the struggle against arbitrary, unjust authority" was a recurring theme in social and political movements of the time. Were the rebel angels in this myth the villains or the heroes? That depended on whether you were on the side of the monarchs and the churches, or on the side of the common people.

We've had some pretty terrible people throughout history that were seen as "heroes" to some. People who've promoted messages of hatred, fear, and repression. Who sought to force everyone at gunpoint--or through oppressive laws--to conform to their own dark view of a perfect and moral society. Even now, this breed of hateful authoritarianism is trying to rise again and poison people against each other.

Well, fuck that noise! That vision is for sheep. For suckers. For scared little boys and girls who are afraid of change, evolution, progress, freedom, and love. For people who want some all-powerful daddy or mommy to keep them safe from some imaginary boogeyman. Be careful what you wish for. All too often these strong leaders (real or mythical) tend to be abusive, capricious, and destructive, requiring your blind loyalty and trust even as they damage and plunder the societies they supposedly guide and protect.

Heroes on the right side of history know better. These heroes know that "freedom" and "strength" means celebrating diversity and allowing other people you might not understand--or like--to live the way they want and to pursue happiness in the way that makes sense to them. Such heroes also know that sometimes one person's individual right to think or say or do a thing conflicts with other people's freedom and safety and well-being. And that when such conflicts occur, the right decision is always to make the compromise that protects the safety and well-being of as many people as possible. Especially of marginalized people who don't have the money and power to protect themselves. A hero protects the vulnerable. Preying on the weak and scapegoating outgroups is the act of a villian.

The heroic and brave choice in every social conflict is the one that comes from a place of empathy, compassion, and love. Those choices that come from a place of selfishness and fear and tribal "us versus them" scapegoating are not heroic. They are weak and pathetic.

I try to write music that inspires you to be a compassionate hero in whatever way you can. Whether that's asserting your political voice in the face of overwhelming odds, or just quietly inspiring and helping others to find their own happiness. Or both. Heroes like this also have a lot to celebrate, so many of my songs are simply for celebrating life and freedom and empathy and compassion and love. Celebrate by yourself or alongside other heroes. DANCE. CELEBRATE. BE A HERO!

Heather Greywalker