Frontline physician uses experiences treating COVID patients to create anthem for our times
QUINCY, MA – A world filled with fear and separation is a world that doesn’t recognize the hope of humanity banding together for a greater purpose. That’s the truth physician and creator Roy Souaid from “John Lebanon” is trying to bring with their new song “If I Fail They Die.” (IFTY)
The song is inspired by Dr. Souaid’s time as a medical professional on the front lines of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Having spent most of his life pursuing music as a hobby – including playing gigs with a band along the East Coast of the U.S. as well as performing in parts of Europe and the Middle East – this talented musician couldn’t help but turn to his music as an outlet for the turmoil of emotions he was facing in the wake of the pandemic. And out of that creative struggle came a song that he is certain to be the perfect anthem for today.
“We are connected more than ever, and our actions do make a difference,” Souaid said. “It’s time we take care of one another and of our beautiful earth. Like a lot of people, I was getting stressed out by COVID at the beginning, and I found myself listening to Enya because I was looking for music that would be relaxing. I could not find similar music however, so I decided to create something on my own. What came out was different from anything we usually make, which is more Indie-pop-electro-Jazz. This, however, was ambient sounds with heavy synth and strum guitar. But it was the perfect sound to go with the message I was trying to get across.”
That message was born from Roy’s desire to find proper perspective in the face of the challenge facing the world to social distance and stay physically away from one another. As he began to research the effectiveness of this, he looked toward historical precedent and found himself reading about the Spanish Flu of the early 1900s.
“I saw a picture of some nurses in a hospital who were fighting the flu,” he said. “They were all wearing masks, exactly how you would see our nurses today. But behind them, they had a big sign that said, ‘If I fail, he dies.’ That sign kept playing over and over in my head everywhere I went – whether I was at the grocery store or at work in the hospital or wherever. It seemed ludicrous that we had to all be apart from each other – emotionally painful in a lot of ways – but I realized that even that one little act of isolation could mean the difference of saving someone else’s life. And if everybody is taking part in that active isolation, then we’re all collectively saving lives. If one person fails, then everybody can be affected.”
While Roy admits that the mood of the song starts out in a kind of depressing place, he encourages listeners to embrace the uplifting message that comes through. While using a sample of a fellow physician from the front lines – giving a testimony about a day in the hospital treating COVID patients – Dr. Souaid also emphasizes the importance of everyone staying home and helping in whatever ways they can. The song, therefore, not only becomes a musical history piece, but an anthem for the world.
Following this single, Roy said he’s planning on finishing an album called “Vermont Arab” which he plans to drop toward the end of the summer or perhaps this fall. He said the overall theme of the project is an imaginary man living in an imaginary world, and will tonally reflect more of his Indie, Electro-Jazz style with some Pop elements.
To listen to John Lebanon’s music or to follow him on social media, please visit:
“If I Fail They Die”