“Everyday Heroes” is roughly one month old as I write this blog, and I’ve decided that I should address what has amounted to one negative comment per day about my video and what it depicts. Although I have received countless emails from grateful Paramedics since the release of the video, all of the criticism has come from the EMT (or Paramedic) community. The common issue is centered on the fact that Paramedics are not mentioned explicitly in the lyrics and are shown only briefly in the video, attending to an injured Police Officer. Their concern is that not focusing attention equally between Police, Fire and EMS diminishes the EMS contribution somehow. I respectfully disagree, and so do the hundreds of people who have written in support of the song.
First of all “Everyday Heroes” is a song that honours all First Responders. As a songwriter, the challenge with every song is to capture the listener’s attention in a way that allows them to paint their own picture while sharing a central message to which we can all relate. The message of this song is not that we should honour only two branches of the First Responder community. If that’s what you take away, then watch it again and listen closely. The message is found in the chorus and the bridge of most songs, where the melody and energy are most dynamic. It’s in the chorus where you say: “ok folks if you’ve been listening so far, pay close attention now cause this is what I’m really talking about”. In “Everyday Heroes” the Chorus says:
“Cause they made a promise and here they come
Someone hurtin’ called 9-1-1
And the siren’s sayin’ hope is on the way
There’s a hero racing to help a stranger today”
The Bridge says:
“When People in the world need saving the saviors who answer the call
Don’t get paid anymore for danger or get to pick the one’s they want
They just go to where the few will go and maybe lay it all on the line
As they do their job, and do it one more time.”
That’s what this song and project is about: First Responders answering the call. In songwriting you support the message in a chorus using ‘verses’ to show examples of what you’re trying to say. With “Everyday Heroes” I chose two possible examples with a Fire and Police scenario but they are only two possible illustrations. I might have written a whole verse about Paramedics and the good work they do but that would have made the song 6.5 minutes long and not have made it better or any more clear. It was my artistic decision that the song was done and I had accomplished the goal as it stands today. I have found that every time I hear a song that tries to be politically correct and be all things to all people in equal measure it fails, and for me to be fair to everyone I would have to have written two more verses, one for Dispatch and one for Paramedics. The song would have been 8.5 minutes long, the video double the cost and few would have watched it. For those who did, none would have enjoyed it.
The strength of the “Everyday Heroes” lies in the fact that anyone who has been touched by the work of any First Responder branch will identify with that arm when they hear those lyrics. If you’ve watched Paramedics come to your house and save your baby, regardless of what images are in the video you will think of EMT’s with the gratitude they deserve. The same could be said if Fire Fighters saved your home, if Police captured a violent criminal in your neighbourhood or if Dispatch talked you through a stressful situation waiting for help.
I understood going into this that some tensions exist between branches of the First Responder community but my song and its intent is about showing gratitude to all and I refuse to let politics get in the way of my intent and ambition with this project. 911Song.com is meant to be a meeting place to share stories and show gratitude for all First Responders. I invite anyone to share an outstanding first responder story for others to read in the hopes of giving more context to my message. If some EMT’s are feeling left out of this project or concerned that they are viewed as less important than their 9-1-1 partners the answer is not to boycott the video. The answer is to support it! The answer is to participate and share a variety of great stories that show others all the important contributions you make. 911Song.com can be an outlet to educate others about what you do. In my experience though, the EMS contribution is highly respected and valued by the average person and the comments I receive from people who see the video support that. With the little explicit attention to EMT’s in “Everyday Heroes,” most people who write-in mention EMT’s explicitly in their message of gratitude demonstrating that the song does what it’s supposed to do. I’m happy to announce as well that CAA and Transat Holidays have offered a free trip that we will award to a deserving First Responder to join Sons of Maxwell in Punta Cana this April. Nominate that person by sharing their story on www.911Song.com. It’s open to EMT’s and all other First Responders. Click here to share your “Everyday Hero story.”
“Everyday Heroes” came about through a challenge from a friend to write a song that captures the essence of the 9-1-1 system and the people who work it. I liked what I wrote and recorded it. After performing it live the response was so strong that someone with the ability to fund a video offered to finance it completely because he felt the message was important enough to share with others. I believe that too so I have paid for the creation of a website to support it and devoted much of my time and energy to the cause. There are enough negative, angry messages in music these days and I’m trying to offer a worthy alternative to those songs. My hope is that people will hear the song, watch the video and focus on what the song accomplishes and less on what it may not but 911Song.com remains a place where all reasonable comments are welcome.