March Madness: Redemption Song


For those interested in a little detail from my musical journey this month.

The point of this March Madness series is to stress this idea that one opportunity truly leads to the next, and I’m so humbled by that. Back stage of Kaiso (see earlier post), a man heard me rehearse and was like, “are you free tomorrow?”

That turned into an opportunity to open for a gender based violence forum organized by ReThink in celebration of International Women’s Day.

Redemption Song by Bob Marley is one of the first songs I learned when I picked up the guitar, and I thought it appropriate for the event.

It’s also a treasured song to me because it was the song that drew the most attention when I was busking around in Europe a few summers ago. There was this couple that hung around listening to me sing on the streets of Paris. The girl was dancing and grooving and swaying to my song, and the guy was watching me intently. Eventually he came over and literally turned into my coach.

“Sing the Bob Marley again,” he said. “You’re holding back.”

So I sang it again. I sang it in a loop thinking, “this man is crazy but he’s cool so let’s try this.”

“You’re still holding back, still holding back!” he would coax as I sang. So I dug out everything in me and sang the song ‘properly’.

“YES!!” he cried, throwing down a bunch of €2 coins into my open guitar case. “No more holding back!”

Then he and his partner wished me well and went about their way unto the streets of Paris. Of course, I’ve never seen them again; we didn’t exchange any contact info. But it was a lesson that has stayed with me.

No more holding back. Redemption Song 🙂


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