“Freedom wind, blow me away. I don’t feel so free today…”
Lyrics from inmate at Richmond City Justice Center, Garland Carr sings the original song collaborated on with Grammy Award winning artist Speech.
Speech, the stage name of Todd Thomas, is in Richmond recording a new album at the jail.
Mostly there for the talent and inspiration, Speech really wanted to interact with the inmates and learn how talented they were.
“When we got here, I didn’t know how talented or untalented any of the residents were going to be,” Speech says. “It’s been part of the journey to really interact with them and learn how talented they are. I’ve just been floored by it.”
Creating nine original songs with different inmates in the jail Speech was on a mission to share with people how human these inmates really are.
“The opportunity to be able to create music and interact … that will help people to understand the humanity, the creativity, the repentance, the heart of people in jail,” he says. “And help people understand that these are humans, people that are going through a lot of stuff. And this music is where they express it.”
Resonant Pictures of Brooklyn, New York film crew have been capturing the experience all on camera.
Speech Thomas not only spent time working with musically inclined inmates in the Richmond City Justice Center, he also stayed one night in the facility.
The goal was to try to understand the incarcerated lives of those he collaborated with. Recapping on the night he spent, Speech says,
“It was unforgettable — the emotional detachment, the feeling I felt in there, which I’d never felt in my life,” he says. “I don’t plan to feel it again.”
Speech says he hopes his collaborators, such as Carr will, continue to make music when they’re out.
“The straight and narrow — it’s the only path for me,” Carr says. “I feel like I woke up from a long sleep.
The album has no release date yet, Speech says, but he’ll return to Richmond for follow-ups later this year — with the rest of Arrested Development at some point — and Resonant Pictures will continue to track the album’s creation.
Sources: Jackie Kruszewski (Style Weekly)