Blog & Rants

The Story Behind the Song "Pray"  

The Story Behind the Song 

"Pray"

Christy Bruneau

     I wrote the song "Pray" right after my father passed away. It was one of the quickest songs I have written. It came to me in about 10 minutes. Being in a place of grief & loss I went through a time of deep contemplation about what life and our connection to it. I began to question my existence, our existence at a deeper level "Is there more to life than just our physical presence?" I wasn't raised religious and I am not religious now, but losing my father at just 59 years old brought me closer to these questions and the feeling of being guided and led by something bigger than myself. So the song "Pray" literally emerged. 

     A bit after I finished the song and became open enough to play it, I was in a songwriter's circle. I had not played for a while in front of a crowd, but I strongly felt I needed to play "Pray." After we were finished a fellow songwriter in the group came up to me. He told me that he had stage 4 cancer and my song had really touched him, gave him peace with this part of the end of his life. Isn't that what most of us songwriter's want? Just to touch someone else through our songs. I never saw him again. But I am grateful that my song gave him some peace at the time in his life. 

I feel lucky to have a few versions of this song live as well as a produced version which really made the song come alive. Recording a song and watching it take on a life of it's own is one of my greatest joys. I have included a link to a live version from a Songs from Space show I played Pray Live. The produced version is also available for you from when I recorded the song at Berkley Sound here in San Diego. I hope this song touches you, too. 

 

 

 

Big Bad World 

I am working on my next recording right now, which I plan to release in Jan. 2020.  It's a song written to remember a young student at the middle school I taught, Ahlyja Pinson, who was murdered by a gang member in 2007 over Christmas break. I still remember the look on the counselor's face when she came into my room that first day back at school after break to tell us. Although I did not have her as one of my students, it hit close to home for me. I had been a 14 year old out on the streets of Maryvale (a suburb in Phoenix which at the time that was one of most dangerous areas in the country) hanging out with people who were dangerous. It could have easily been my story. My ending. I was blown away at how easy some of the teachers could point the finger at her. Hadn't things changed since 1985 I thought? I overheard a few of her teachers guard their shock and grief by commenting how she had changed that year. She started wearing dark eyeliner and hanging out with older guys. I heard teachers talk about me that way, too, even the dean at my middle school. "Oh she used to be such a nice girl. Now she looks like such a slut" I felt such a sadness for her and her friends and family. I felt a deep sadness for all of us girls who have been in this Big Bad World at times, caught between being a girl and being a woman. So I wrote her this song on the way to work the next day. Her murdered was found guilty and convicted of her murder in 2012. Some of us young girls in the hood were lucky enough to make it out and not get burnt to a crisp. But she is one of our lost girls to this Big Bad World. 

Take a listen to the live version with Aja Lee singing a piece with me. 

Big Bad World written by Christy Bruneau

 

 

 

Writing  

I have been writing for the past 25 years. I was often told that my grammar sucks.  And it did and does.  So I started writing poetry and then songs. I am not sure if I consciously started writing poetry and songs to avoid the grammar critics, who totally kill creative writing, but I switched. I also write every morning in what Julia Cameron calls morning pages. I would not know who I was without those. Sometimes songs show up or poems, rants, essays, etc. I write whatever I want and no one gets to critique. I am grateful for poetry and songwriting. It kept me alive at times when I could not speak up for myself.