Aryk Crowder: One by One

Over and over again we hear it on the news.“Another death due to gun violence.”
We hear about it in Chicago and we hear about it around the world.
Unfortunately, it’s just something we are starting to get use to.

Many folks have tried to take a stand in their local communities and some have been successful… while others have seen the same results. But this doesn’t mean we should stop trying.

An interesting way is through music.

Meet Chicago-based singer/songwriter Aryk Crowder who has took it into his own hands to bring this problem to its feet through his guitar, lyrics, sound and video.

We caught up with Crowder and learned more about his take on gun violence and his new song/music video. (Above)

When and how did this idea/project start?
Seems like a good time to send a message like this out especially when there are so many unfortunate events happening around the nation with violence, Ferguson, MO in particular.
I’ve been living in Chicago for 10 years now and the headline of gun violence has been an ever present one. The concept for this song started a few years back when I heard a woman use the term “Chiraq” in her spoken word long before it was used in jest when referring to Chicago gun violence. It spoke volumes to me in that someone living in a Chicago neighborhood, that has one of the highest gun incidences made such a lofty comparison. Seeing more and more incidences build up and culminating into a shooting in my neighborhood solidified how real and widespread this problems is.

How hard and/or easy is it to write and sing about things like this and then actually bring it to life with music and a video?
I wanted to approach this subject with an open mind and an open heart as it’s a delicate one. I wanted to ensure that the things I was saying would be taken how I meant to say them. The concept of the video was a collaboration between myself and the director (N.K. Gutiérrez). We tossed around a few ideas and landed on one where we felt best delivered what we were trying to say. She did a great job with writing the script.

What do you want viewers to take out of this song/video?
The purpose/message behind the video is that gun violence isn’t limited to poor,urban areas. Whether we think so or not, this issue sits at all of our doorsteps I hope for folks to gain empathy for those who are dealing with this issue on a daily basis and start thinking what they can do to improve. Similar to what’s going on in Ferguson right now, many outside the immediacy of the St.Louis area feel that there’s not much they can do. This is not true. Though we may not have the answers now, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start working towards them.

With most popular music talking about sex, violence, drugs, getting turnt up and what not, what is your take on how the youth is being influenced on these questionable topics?
We want to think otherwise, but music and media definitely influence our perceptions. As arbitrary as they may sometimes seem, words are really important. How we choose to say things are constantly being interpreted by the listener and directly affect their views and how they see they world. I can’t speak for anyone in particular, but I can only hope that the youth of today can see beyond the entertainment value of popular music and are also seeking out artists who dive into topics that will help shape their viewpoints beyond the superficial and into positive ones.

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