Courtesy of the artist
Singer Danielle Ponder is aware of that empathy is a robust software in songwriting. “I feel in music, you are telling a narrative,” she tells NPR’s Weekend Version, “and a superb songwriter is telling a narrative in a approach the place the viewers empathizes or can see themselves in that individual’s footwear.”
It is actually not that totally different, the Rochester, N.Y.-based musician says, from being a protection lawyer. She ought to know; outdoors of her music profession, Ponder additionally spent 5 years as a public defender.
Ponder entered her track “Poor Man’s Ache” into this yr’s Tiny Desk Contest. Although she did not win — that honor went to Brooklyn singer and songwriter Linda Diaz — her transferring track and highly effective voice impressed our panel of judges. (Her entry was even featured in an episode of our Tiny Desk Contest Top Shelf collection.)
Ponder says each her music and her profession as a public defender have been, partially, impressed by her brother’s expertise with the felony justice system. “My brother spent 20 years of his life in jail for a theft,” she says, “and that’s one thing that has motivated me to do the work that I do, to jot down the songs that I write.”
Ponder says she was fascinated with her brother’s expertise when she wrote “Poor Man’s Ache,” in addition to one other story. “The one case that actually broke my coronary heart, to be frank,” she says, “was the case of Willie Simmons, who stole $9 in 1982 and [is serving] a life sentence. He has exhausted all of his appeals and has pled and begged to be let loose and has been denied that chance. His case actually impressed me to jot down this track.”
Although Ponder submitted the Tiny Desk Contest video in March, the track’s relevance hasn’t waned for her — particularly with the just lately renewed dialog in regards to the dying of Daniel Prude, a Black man from Ponder’s dwelling metropolis who died after being injured throughout an arrest final March.
“I wrote [“Poor Man’s Pain”] earlier than all of this occurred,” she says. “However I assume with the monitor document of this nation, I ought to have recognized that it might discover its relevance once more. It was Willie Simmons’ story in March, after which it was George Floyd’s story in Might, and now it is Daniel Prude’s story in September. So these songs, I feel, are timeless, as a result of we have now not discovered a approach to finish the ache and struggling of Black folks on this nation.”
Take heed to the complete aired story within the audio participant above.