Due to the horrific tragedy that has taken place in Israel, we are unveiling a special Beasley Best Community of Caring initiative focused on tolerance, respect, and empathy. For the next few weeks, we will publish features encouraging those values.
On Oct. 27, 2018, Robert Bowers entered the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh armed with multiple firearms, including three Glock .357 handguns and a Colt AR-15 rifle. Bowers opened fire, killing and injuring members of the three congregations. He also injured multiple responding police officers as they attempted to rescue surviving victims.
Millions now live in fear of being targeted for their faith, race, ethnicity, and identity. In the Federal Bureau of Investigations report on hate crimes released in March 2023, hate crimes reported in the United States increased nearly 12%. The FBI said close to 65% of victims were reportedly targeted because of their race or ethnicity. 15.9% were targeted for their sexual orientation, and 14.1% were targeted because of their religion.
What can you do? Look to the internet and social media for ways to combat prejudice. Take a stand against hate in all its forms. Become educated. Learn to recognize hate speech and research “facts” and stories before reposting. (The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions provides a great checklist called “How To Spot Fake News.” You can find it here.) Know what to do when you see an act of discrimination and how to support its victim. Teach your children about prejudice and discrimination.
There are many trusted and well-vetted organizations to help you in this fight. It’s worth checking out their websites, and following them on social media.
Shine A Light is a purpose-driven platform for organizations, companies, institutions, and individuals to unite to fight antisemitism in all its modern forms. The platform offers resources for advocates and allies. This includes research data, educational material for children and teens, and information about antisemitism through the decades. They trace how today’s Jewish hatred was shaped by literature, culture, policies, and law in the past.
Stop AAPI Hate is a coalition dedicated to ending racism and discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAs & PIs), working with other communities of color to advocate for equity and justice. Like Shine A Light, Stop AAPI Hate challenges harmful misconceptions about their community. They work towards social change by shifting how everyday people and lawmakers see them. At the same time, they offer resources for their community, with guides to knowing your rights through a fifty-state recap of local anti-discrimination laws, safety tips, and downloadable flyers.
For over 100 years, The Anti-Defamation League has fought “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all through research and advocacy,” per their website. They offer educational materials, global data, an extremism glossary, and a hate symbol directory. The ADL is also a leader in battling online prejudice and hate speech.
The Sothern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is an agent for racial justice, working in partnership with communities to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements, and advance the human and civil rights of all people, Blacks, children, women, the disabled, immigrants and migrant workers and the LGBTQ community. Their Intelligence Project tracks and exposes the activities of hate groups and other domestic extremists.
With understanding and education, hopefully, one day, we can defeat hate.
Clint Black is a superstar, and he worked extremely hard to earn that status. He is a singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, and actor. He is known and loved forfor his heart-wrenching break-up songs and inspiring love songs that stand the test of time.
It’s often interesting to hear an artist’s definition of country music and how they feel about today’s music compared to, in this case, the music of Clint Black’s era. In this episode of How I Wrote That Song, Clint discusses the importance of lyrics, poetry, and the high standard for calling a song “country.”
Black came onto the country music scene during a very exciting time. The music was changing thanks to artists like Clint, Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Travis Tritt, and Mary Chapin Carpenter. These five artists make up the storied “Class of ‘89.” As The Tennesseean wrote: “The Class of ‘89 … changed the face of one of America’s truest art forms, propelling country music to unprecedented commercial success and worldwide popularity.”
That class paved the way for today’s heavy hitters like Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and Carrie Underwood; each of whom made his or her country music debut approximately 15 years later. How I Wrote That Song with Clint Black will take you on a trip back to when Clint was a young man with a record deal, a successful radio single, yet still only pulling in $50 a gig. He was chomping at the bit to finish his album and had a hard time “killing time” waiting for it to come together.
You’ll hear how fate brought the unmistakable voice of Wynonna to join Clint on one of the most emotional songs in his repertoire, “A Bad Goodbye.” And wait until you find out how long it took him to write it!
And, ironically, you’ll laugh when you hear Clint describe how he fooled his wife, Lisa Hartman Black, into joining him to sing what is still considered to be one of the most beautiful love songs ever written, “When I Said I Do.”
We are our own worst critics. Luke Spiller knows this as well as anyone. Despite churning out a successful run of crossover hits with The Struts for more than a decade, he’s still never sure if a song will land until he lets other people hear it.
“That’s one thing I’ve learned,” he says in this episode of How I Wrote That Song, “that you simply do not know. The only thing you can do… is keep pushing and pushing, and then something is gonna surface, that you might not even recognize the quality within it, until you really start to show it around and people react to it and get drawn into that.”
Take their earliest hit, “Could Have Been Me.” The track is from the Struts’ debut album Everybody Wants, and it elevated the band from UK club favorites to global rockstars. But Luke explains, “I remember when we finished it. I was outside having a cig with Ads (guitarist Adam Slack) and I was like, ‘Is this any good? …I mean, it’s alright.’ And that’s the funny thing with some of these singles. When they happen towards the end of your creative process of creating an album, by then sometimes you can be overtired, over traveled, and you really just don’t know what’s good anymore. ‘Could Have Been Me’ was one of those ones for sure. My hands were up in the air, like, ‘It’s a great song, but I don’t know.’”
It ended up not only being a hit, but Luke jokes that it’s “the song that keeps on giving.” High-profile placement in sporting events, commercials and movies exposed the band to an entirely new audience. In 2021, the song was covered by Halsey for the Sing 2 soundtrack – a children’s movie – and he noticed that “all of these little kids were showing up with their parents” to the Struts’ concerts.
“I thought to myself, have I got to tone the show down now?” he says with a laugh. “But then I thought, f— it, and I did what I did and didn’t dumb it down. And you see the kids’ faces, and they absolutely love it.”
Hear more stories behind the band’s most popular songs, plus Luke’s thoughts on musical ad-libs, collaborations and more, in this week’s How I Wrote That Song.
For our latest installment of our How I Wrote That Song series, we sat down and talked with Tyler Hubbard. With 20 No.1 singles on country radio, countless awards, and sold-out tours, Tyler Hubbard has already had an incredibly successful career as a songwriter and as one-half of the multi-platinum duo Florida Georgia Line. The group played their last show for the foreseeable future last year. But Hubbard has wasted no time in establishing himself as a solo star who is able to stand on his own.
His solo debut, Tyler Hubbard, is out now. His debut solo single “5 Foot 9,” was a number one radio hit. And it was certified Platinum by the RIAA, and has almost 385M global streams. Tyler Hubbard also features his current single, “Dancin’ In The Country,” which he discusses with us in this interview.
Lzzy Hale has been writing and performing with her band Halestorm for over half of her life. Over the past two decades, she’s released gold and platinum-selling albums with plenty of chart-toppers at rock radio, all while shattering the status quo with her powerhouse vocals and bold lyrics.
In this installment of How I Wrote That Song, WMMR’s Sara asks Lzzy about her biggest hits, going back to when Halestorm came out swinging in 2009 with the single “I Get Off.” Despite the saucy title, the song’s first draft was actually about how the band won over a few hardened record executives in the audience at a live showcase. When Lzzy developed the lyrics further with a writing collective called The Girls, she explains: “I was telling them this story [about the show] and one of them – and this is why I love writing with women, because our sense of humor is the same – was like, ‘Oh, so you got off on them enjoying what you do’… and we took over this piano, in the lobby of this hotel, and were singing ‘I get off on you, getting off on me,’ just totally annoying everybody around us.”
She adds with a laugh, “It originally didn’t start from sex, but it definitely grew its own legs!”
Sara and Lzzy also discuss the Grammy-nominated song “Uncomfortable” and a new track called “Terrible Things.” Along the way, they touch on her unexpected radio hit with Daughtry this year, swapping gender perspectives in song lyrics, and how activism plays a role in her writing process.
Note: This interview was originally recorded in March 2023.