I began writing this song with Felix da Housecat a few months before my first Burning Man in 2012. I wrote the pensive verses and melodies alone in my East London studio when I was in a profoundly lonely place, having been abandoned by people who said they loved me; others who said they had my best interests at heart; others who pretended to be my friend only to come into my home to steal from me; others who made promises that they never intended to keep. I felt terribly isolated. Disconnected.
Jason Swamy gave me my first DJ gig in New York City years ago, and last year in 2012, he invited me to perform at the Robot Heart. I wrote the words of this song knowing I would perform it at Robot Heart, without even knowing what the playa was like or what I would find there. It's almost as if I were possessed by a demon to sing sentiments from the future, because when I got to the playa, I knew that the words of this song would resonate there for those that would hear it. Burning Man answered a lot of questions that had been ringing in my head about friendship, love, survival, manifestation, and following my dreams. What appeals to me most about the Burn isn't the parties, the far-out fashion, the golden sunrises, or the fantastic art. It's the realisation one experiences on the playa that once you take away the concrete, the money, the marketing, the noise, and false sense of urgency...space is made for CLARITY. Things start to make sense, to come together. Fortunate mistakes transform into signs and serendipity. People appear on the horizon when you think of them. DJs play songs that seem to speak to you, to single you out of thousands to respond to thoughts in your head. Love is found. Human kindness is real. Gifts are given with good intention. Fears and darkness are left to burn. Radical self-expression and radical self-reliance are exercised. The playa provides. We provide for each other.
I returned to the playa again one year later, 2013. There is a reason they say "Welcome Home" when you enter the gates, because the playa is just that. Home. I came HOME to sing new songs at Robot Heart, to write new wishes on the Temple walls, to see new sunrises, to reunite with dear friends and to forge eternal connections with complete strangers. I was able to build new memories on an existing familiarity. I had a look at the people I had chosen to surround myself with and I felt infinite gratitude to know them. The playa had provided an environment where we could connect with perfect clarity. After another week of HOME, I was able to let go of my loneliness. I feel an abundance of joy when I hear the melancholy words of this song because I know that I will never be alone ever again. I am no longer afraid. I no longer feel Disconnected. I feel free.
A huge, warm thank you to the number who approached me at Burning Man to say that they heard me perform this song at Robot Heart last year, asking when it would become available, saying that it was a beautiful moment for them…including a lovely man named Ian who came up to me just after sunrise on Thursday morning to say that the lyrics of this song resonated in his heart when I had sang them last year. My echoes in the dark had been heard. There were surprisingly many of you who voiced your appreciation for this song on the playa - I am forever grateful.
So please consider this song a playa gift, from my HEART to yours.
written by Scarlett Etienne and Felix da Housecat
words by Scarlett Etienne
produced by Scarlett Etienne and David Earl
special thanks to the wonderful people of Robot Heart….and Saraswati x
Photo by Karim V Tabar