Jennifer Nettles’ ‘King of the City’ Is Powerful Immigration Song Inspired by 9/11
Jennifer Nettles has released a poignant new song about the value of immigrants in the United States called “King of the City,” championing the hard working families who’ve immigrated to the country.
The ballad has a mariachi-inspired flair with classical guitar trilling in the background as Nettles paints a picture of a man who is a window-washer among skyscrapers, spending his time looking out upon the city he loves and taking pride in his work.
“It’s true I wasn’t born here / But my heart is sworn here / To hold up your dreams with my own / That day on my perch / I made it to church / And I prayed for each soul to fly home,” Nettles sings with true emotion in her voice.
Released just before Sept. 11, 2017, Nettles says the song was inspired by a real-life window-washer who died in the 9/11 attacks.
“I want to humanize the immigrant story as an American story, and allow people a different narrative from what they might be seeing on the news or in their communities,” she tells Rolling Stone about the song.
The article also notes that 21 percent of people who died on 9/11 were born outside the U.S., according to FactChecker.com. The song’s release comes on the heels of President Trump’s rescinding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
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“The places I want to address are places of pain, to say, ‘Where does it hurt? Let’s talk about that’ – and we are hurting as a country,” says Nettles, who lived in Mexico and studied Spanish and anthropology in college. “So I hope that within the Latino community, people feel validated and seen with this song, and I hope that within the country at large it sends a message of unity.”
Fans can hear the full song on Nettles’ Big Machine’s website.
Nettles has been exploring her solo career over the last four years post-Sugarland, and her most recent record, Playing With Fire, was released in 2016. Though Sugarland haven’t officially broken up, the singer says her solo venture has been a freeing experience.
“I wanted to take a chance and to see what I would create from a solo perspective and to offer my fans a little bit more of an intimate look at who I am as an artist,” she explains. “And so consequently I have felt super liberated by it.”
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