INTERVIEW: Patricia Bahia

Hi Patricia, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Well… 2020 has been a journey… Not all bad by any means, but not at all what I had planned for the year, that‘s for sure. But I’m happy and grateful to be alive and healthy and making music, despite it all.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Every Heart One Love”?

Yes, absolutely. Every Heart One Love is a call to action for love and unity, a song of celebration, inclusivity and healing. I wrote this song with one of my long-time co-writers, Diana Rose Dawson. Duddy Brown produced the track.

We are so happy and grateful that this song is resonating so strongly with people. It just won a Positive Music Award (“A Posi Award”) on Saturday night, and in September, Every Heart One Love won the Peace Song Award for best Rock + Pop song. It also reached the finals in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest.

And here’s the ultimate “pinch me” moment: The folks at the Peace Song Awards shared with me that Every Heart One Love was unanimously chosen by the judging panel. What? A panel that includes musical giants Stewart Copeland of The Police; Peter Yarrow of Peter Paul and Mary; and Ralph Simon, co-founder of Zomba and Jive Records, unanimously chose my song? That just blows my mind. To have these giants in the music world even listen to my song in and of itself is amazing. To have them unanimously choose it as the winning song is simply mind-blowing.

So, that’s what I mean when I say 2020 hasn’t been all bad—there’s definitely been some light in all the darkness.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Not so much an event, but more of a feeling of frustration with the increasing polarization in our country. Talking heads on TV, talking over each other, louder and louder; each one convinced they are “right.” Comments on social media posts, getting meaner and nastier. Very little listening. Very little understanding. Very little compassion. And in talking with my co-writer, Diana Rose Dawson, we both felt ourselves getting pulled down into it and pulled down by it.

We wanted to write a song to remind ourselves and anyone listening, that we really are all more alike than we are different, and that we are all connected.

One of the things I try to do as a songwriter and artist is to create songs that help lift people up; to combat the negativity with hope and optimism. And help us remember that we’re all one family living on one planet.

The lyrics often start as encouragement or reminders I need to hear myself. I write the words I want and need to hear to help me deal with my own anxieties, doubts, fear and negativity. Or, I picture a friend or family member going through a hard time, and write them words of encouragement.

My hope is that my songs can provide some type of relief in these strange times–some peace or freedom or joy or catharsis–to help get us through.

That’s the inspiration and intention behind Every Heart One Love.

Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?

Yes, there’s a lyric video coming out later this month. It’s one of those where you see the hand holding the pen and writing the words as you hear the song. You know what I mean? I love those kind of hand-written videos—it’s such a cool way to reveal the lyric as the song plays. I’m excited to share that one soon.

And, there’s also a live-performance video of me playing Every Heart One Love for the 15th Annual Positive Music Awards (“The Posi Awards”). Since the award show was virtual because of the pandemic, the video is of me in my home studio, but I put up some long curtains on the wall behind me to help it feel a little more like a stage.

How was the recording and writing process?

(Laughs) Yes, this was one of those songs that went on a journey to becoming the song it is now. You know, some songs reveal themselves right away, and some take more time and work to uncover. This was one of those that took more time—it took several lyric rewrites and finding the right producer for it to come into it’s own.

How did Jason Mraz influence this song?

Before making the current recording of the song, I had a chance to play a demo for Jason Mraz at the Hawaii Songwriting Festival. Jason loved the song, especially the way the sing-along bridge involves everybody.

Something else Jason said in the session that day stuck with me. He said in his songwriting now, especially in social commentary songs, he is always trying to find a way to write from a first person perspective, looking in the mirror and taking responsibility for his role. Because when you write from a first person point of view, the listener gets to sing along, and the affirmation becomes theirs. 

When I got home from Hawaii, Diana and I re-worked the first verse lyric to take responsibility for our own anger and judgment. But there was still one line that didn’t feel quite right to me. 

It was a chance encounter with a homeless man that helped me see what needed to change. I was walking with Duddy Brown, my producer, to his studio on the edge of skid row in downtown Los Angeles, when we saw a homeless man passed out on the sidewalk. We stepped around him and kept walking. 

Once we got into the studio, we looked at each other and said, “what just happened?” We realized how desensitized we had become to homelessness from seeing it all the time. Duddy said, “Yeah if that had been you laying on the sidewalk, I would have rushed over and said, ‘Oh my God, Patricia, are you OK?’” But because it was a stranger, we just walked around him. 

That’s where the lyric “Wish we’d all stop acting like we’re strangers” came from. Before that, I had a line about turning the tables or something. I can’t even remember now exactly what it was before, because this feels so right. For me, changing that one lyric crystalized the message of the song: Underneath it all, we are all members of the human family. And every heart beats to the rhythm of one love.

Does the new single mean we can expect new material – how’s that coming along?

Yes, I have a collection of songs that I’ve got recorded and I am releasing them as singles every 6 weeks or so. First is an EP I made with one of my all-time favorite producers, Duddy Brown. Every Heart One Love is from that EP, and so is Be Here Now, which was released at the end of August, 2020.

I also recently released We Are One Love, a duet with Austin Willacy (look him up, he’s amazing) and the track also features the ‘Til Dawn youth choir as the choir. There’s also a powerful video for that song up on my YouTube Channel, created by Siena Starbird, a talented young film-maker who is an alum of the ‘Til Dawn choir. (https://www.youtube.com/c/PatriciaBahiaMusic)

In addition to releasing songs, I’ve been writing a bunch of new songs during the pandemic. I’ve been writing songs remotely for years—over FaceTime, Skype, Google Chat, Facebook Messenger, whatever—but in the past, when it was time to record, I always went into a studio.

Now that we’re dealing with Covid, recording in a studio isn’t something I feel comfortable with, so I’ve been getting my home studio set up and have been learning how to produce my own vocals so I can do more remote collaborations.

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

The next single will be (Say Yes) World With A Little More Love (feat. Ryan Hiraoka). It’s another upbeat song to help lift people up. It’s also been winning awards–it won the 2020 Peace Song Award in the World Music category, and the 2020 Positive Music Award in the Uniting category. People are asking when they can listen on Apple Music and iTunes, so I want to get it out there for them.

What else is happening next in Patricia Bahia’s world?

I’m dipping my toe into live-streaming, so if you follow my socials you might start seeing more of that. And until it’s safe to play music at a venue other than my home or backyard, I’ll be here writing and recording and releasing new songs.

LISTEN HERE

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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