By Debbie Adams
As people across the country struggle to cope with the COVID-19 crisis, singer/songwriter Jon Weems has used his own special talents to brighten the world during these challenging times with a new song, “We Are All in This Together.” The song is not only encouraging, but pays tribute to those on the front lines in the fight against the virus.
“I wrote this song about the current situation in our nation and the world with the coronavirus,” said Weems. “I wanted to provide some hope, appreciation, and inspiration (and give myself something to do). Stay safe and stay home everybody.”
The song, along with dozens of others Weems has written, is available for viewing on YouTube.
“I wanted to write something about the current crisis,” Weems said. “I heard a few people say, ‘We are all in this together.’ Part of a melody just came to me from that, followed by some lyrics and I worked from there to come up with this song.”
Jon Weems is a quadriplegic who writes music one note at a time with a keyboard and typing stick.
“Like everyone else, I really don’t know what to expect from this virus,” Weems added. “Some people experience relatively mild symptoms, while others are dying. So, I’m being as careful as I can. I know my lung capacity is diminished due to my injury. I’m staying home, but I do have my sister and brother-in-law here as well as a caregiver who comes by daily. We are all trying to be as safe as possible.”
Weems has quite an inspirational story of how he came to be a singer and songwriter.
“As a young child and throughout my school years, I learned to play the keyboard, guitar, bass guitar, trumpet, baritone, and snare drum through both lessons and various school bands,” Weems explains. “After graduation, I continued to play guitar and keyboard. It was then that I began co-writing with a drummer/lyricist friend. We wrote and recorded several original songs together.”
“During that time, I was injured in a diving accident that left me paralyzed from the neck down. I am now a level C6 quadriplegic, which means I do have most of the use of my arms, but not my hands or fingers.”
When he was injured, Weems spent almost a year undergoing medical and rehabilitation treatments, all the while “hearing tunes playing in my head.”
“I asked God what could I do to get these tunes out of my head,” said Weems. “One day in rehab, the occupational therapist put me in front of a computer keyboard. I thought if I could do that, I could play a music keyboard again.”
That led him back to a life in music.
How is it possible to play music without the use of your fingers? Weems explains that he uses typing sticks that fit over each hand, which he uses to play his keyboard. The sticks work well but allow him to play only one note at a time.
“If you are familiar with sequencers, you know you can play a one-note melody for any amount of measures and then go back and continue to add on with rhythm, counter melodies, etc.,” said Weems. “That would be one sequence. My keyboard sequencer allows up to 80 sequences which all fit together like a puzzle to make a song. This process takes a very long time for me, but it’s a good feeling to listen to a song knowing I wrote, played, sang and recorded every note.”
Here are the lyrics and chorus from “We Are All in This Together” –
“We face the challenges at hand. Sometimes it feels like we may never get through it all. A shadow’s cast across the land, and we must now answer the call.”
Chorus: “We are all in this together, there’s no storm that we can’t weather. All the world’s a little better when we show we care. With our hearts and minds united, we are strong enough to fight it. We’re not really so divided with the love we share.
“And when we’re stumbling in the dark, searching for answers as we’re trying to find our aim, the heroes all provide a spark that soon becomes a glorious flame.
“And people who put their lives on the line right now, making the sacrifices to help somehow, we turn our gaze to you when the day is done. You inspire us all to carry on.”
Weems says that he encourages everyone, “disabled or not, to find a way to be involved in things they enjoy.”
Go to YouTube-Jon Weems (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-jKTxsKf7s) to view the video and share it with others. You can also subscribe to his YouTube channel. He is working on new songs that he will be adding soon.
For more information, go to www.jonweems.com.