Nova Scotia singer-songwriter Reeny Smith has pledged the royalties from the radio airplay of her song Survive to benefit the 42 hospital foundations across the province in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Approached initially to record a message urging people to stay home to help support frontline health workers, Smith used the song to close her video message. “I sang Survive, and people enjoyed it, and it touched people in such a way that I felt more could be done,” she says of her decision to offer it as a way to help raise funds.
While a fitting anthem about standing strong in the face of adversity during the current health crisis, the origins of the song came from working on her 2018 album WWIII: Strength Love Courage, with Survive becoming one of its ten tracks.
Having worked with two collaborators for a week straight at the time on the album, the three found themselves reaching a point of burnout and fighting writer’s block.
“We had been writing for a whole week straight and reached a point where we were all pretty burnt out and trying to come up with some inspiration,” she says. “Survive came out of those feelings, but it was also relatable to so many bigger issues.”
And as Smith points out, there is no more significant issue than what is happening in the world right now. “We’re all dealing with our own things during this time and having something that could uplift people was really important, and I am happy that this song can do that,” she says.
While Smith’s immediate focus is on raising funds through her song, she is also keeping busy writing new songs during these times of physical distancing.
“It’s one of the things keeping me going right now,” she says. “My studio is at the house, and I can still write. That has been the greatest blessing for me. I don’t have to stop being creative. I’m definitely taking advantage of that and doing lots of writing and recording in these past few weeks.”
While the pandemic is not a focus for her songwriting, she says it will likely find its way into how she expresses herself through song.
“It hasn’t been a main focal point for me because it’s very overwhelming when you turn on the television or with social media, and everything is focused on this,” she says. “But I’m sure one of these days very soon all those emotions will come out on the paper, and when that happens, I will definitely share that with everybody.”
Smith also continues to work on completing her Christmas album revealed last time Halifax Presents spoke with her. “It’s probably 90% complete,” she says. “Everything is in post-production mode, and we’re just waiting on mixes and mastering. December’s just around the bend.”
For now, though, Smith has a simple message. “Please be safe. Practice social distancing and have faith we’ll come out better once this is all is over.”