Sharon Lia is an inspiring example of how despite major difficulties in our lives we can take our passion and come out even stronger on the other side.
Lia’s latest work, The Sum of Us is a timely new song about resilience and unity. She explains that it is about “the conflict within ourselves, the tragedy of giving up, the victory of rising when we fall, the symphony of realizing our potential, and the philosophy that every single one of us contributes to the sum of us all.”
The newly released song reminds us: “Like water in an ocean, each drop touches the next, creating an enormous body of water. Without every drop, there is no ocean.” In fact, she has heard from front line medical workers, teachers, and others who are eager to be sharing the song — and her video — and the message of never giving up.
Recently, she was contacted by a nurse who was taking off her protective gear in her garage, heard the new song, and wept because it resonated so much with her, and made her realize that each one us matters and that we should never give up.
The unique power of music is summed up by Lia this way: “The nostalgia of the past, enjoyment in the present, and hope for the future.”
Recently, PCM had the pleasure of talking to Lia about her music, her resilience, and why music can transform us, especially during times of unrest, such as the current global health pandemic.
“Share a song or even a smile,” she says, “you never know what someone is going through and how much we can help one another.”
Why is The Sum of Us currently resonating with everyone?
When I wrote the song, I didn’t have a crystal ball so I didn’t know we would be where we are now. I finished the song during the pandemic and with the various scenarios and all of us being hunkered down trying to achieve something together for the common good. So, it is a timeless song and certainly very timely right now. The example of the artists involved coming together is part of that. It is also a thank you to the people on the front lines to whom we are grateful; grocery store workers, and those who work in hospitals and deliver the mail, etc. They have kept the world moving so we can stay safe hunkered down in or homes. I see this music as a little bit of a sign of hope.
How are you doing during the quarantine?
I had an unfortunate accident in which I broke my right hand and suffered a brain injury. It makes things very difficult and upsetting for a piano player and graphic artist, so I have been at home for two years of healing. I try to be strong for my friends, family, loved ones, and fans, because ironically, I am uniquely prepared. Not going out is something I had to adapt to and my husband Rick has had to help me through it all, like he is still doing during this pandemic.
Is there a silver lining to this pandemic?
My husband, Rick Jannotti, who is a gifted guitarist, my engineer, and co-producer, and my partner in everything, continues to be supportive. When he is not running to the store to pick up groceries or supplies, we know we are in this together and that we can create our art together.
Tell me more about how Rick came into your life?
We met in 2013 when he auditioned to be my guitar player. I am so fortunate to have Rick in my life. I always wanted to have a partner who understands my passion for music. I found someone who didn’t mind schlepping my equipment, and has always been so supportive We developed a bond and have shared everything. I have had other love interests in my life who didn’t share my passion or want to dive into the nitty-gritty of things, but when you do it is magical.
So, tell me, why do you want my readers to listen to your music?
I feel like I have a story to share that people can identify with and that will touch them. Obviously, there is a part of me that wants to leave something positive for the world. I feel music can influence people and bring out so much creativity in others. When people get together at a concert or at a temple or church there is communion about it; I hope that someday we get back to that.
What do you think the new music scene is going to look like?
I am not sure. It’s funny, I have a graphic artist friend who works for a Broadway company, they are facing people not coming to shows and wondering what everything will look like in a continuing COVID-19 world.
How can music help us during these very difficult times of COVID-19?
I have closed my eyes and absorbed the melodies and notes and meditated. I waltzed with the vibrations and dreamed of a day when we would all feel like dancing again.
What is your take on what the “new normal” will look like?
I have faith that we are going to come back stronger and smarter. I feel that we are going to be healing from the losses and remembering those who have gone during this time. I believe that it’s human nature to learn from experience, but go back to normal with a more enlightened outlook.
Maybe we will all wash our hands a little longer. It is my hope that we get back to normal and we get back to those personal relationships we have with one another that is so important. It’s interesting because we are all doing what people do best — we are adapting. We are doing the best that we can and at the same time finding new ways of doing things. So, maybe we will have even better ways of doing things in the future.
I was extremely touched by some of the virtual concerts going on that are sharing a wide range of music.
Yes, that is a true gift to the world for musicians to share their uplifting messages. Even with our video – we have artists from around the world who came together to contribute their time and talent. Music is absolutely a gift and it’s amazing how many people with so much talent are willing to give of themselves. I am seeing it everywhere. My hat goes off to everyone who is giving of themselves, in whatever way they can, during these difficult times.
Why is music so important to you?
It’s the only thing that helps me process life. When I’m sitting and thinking about something and I am deep in thought, my next reaction is to sit down and play the piano and a chord progression emerges and that space where the music is, it becomes like a flowerbed for the music to grow. Music has a healing effect on me and for other people. Ever since I was a young child I wanted to write and be involved in music. It’s a calling. I can run, but I can’t hide.
Please tell me more.
Some music is too painful for me to listen to. I find that I have to shut out a part of my life that is too painful. But blocking myself from those emotions is not enabling me to feel that part of my life and address it. So, making music helps me address some of these issues. I try to make music about ordinary people’s extraordinary experiences. Some things are very unique. This pandemic is universal but we are all experiencing a different effect. I try to write about these individual experiences. My song Anomie, for example, is about suicide, but there’s a deeper meaning for people to connect with these feelings.
Why do you feel that music has so much power?
Music imparts vibrations, and, people associate music with episodes in their lives… eliciting memories and associations, both good and challenging. It can make a person or a crowd rowdy, somber, calm, excited, empowered, and/or united. It creates invisible bonds. Music is about the nostalgia of the past, enjoyment in the present, and hope for the future.
What songs and music transport you to a different place and time?
Songs with an ethereal feel, anthems, strong, emotive melodic and chordal progressions, instrumental or with meaningful lyrics, catapult me into a different realm. It’s so overpowering that it can alter what I am writing like social media posts, a letter, or an email. It makes me very introspective and usually emotional.
Do you feel we will come out of this health pandemic changed both personally and professionally?
I do. Like a seed beneath the horizon, when we poke our heads out from under this blanket on the earth, we will grow toward the sun with vibrant abandon. It will be liberating. We will enjoy things we took for granted… we may even go out and do more than we ever did before with our new appreciation for the freedom “To Do.”
What inspires you to be the most creative with your music?
It’s visceral. I would say what stirs in my heart comes out my fingers. The inspiration comes from God, I believe. To create is like this force I cannot fight against. When I write, if I tear up while doing so, (even if it’s not a sad song), I know it’s going to be a great song for me.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to pursue a music or entertainment career?
If music is in your soul, and you know it’s what you want to do, do not abandon it. Like anything else in this life, anything worth fighting for, is truly worth fighting for. You will have to work hard, pay your dues, wear a lot of hats, and ultimately, you will need to learn to balance your music with your critical “me” time since the commitment takes so much time. Enjoy the process, do it because you love it, not for fame or money, and always remember to nurture yourself along the way!
What are your goals for the future?
I want to be a Rock Star one day. [She said with a wide smile.]