On June 14, 2017, a fire broke out at the 24-story public housing unit Grenfell Tower, located in West London, killing 72 people. Since then, there has been a demand for change, as hundreds of high-rise buildings in Britain, largely occupied by low-income residents, continue to be housed in dangerous cladding that is said to have spurred the deadly fire, as well as a lack of sprinklers and proper fire doors.
Following the disaster, singer-songwriter Jamie Freeman, brother of actor The Hobbit actor Martin Freeman, wrote a song titled “The Fire,” and you can watch the video for the track below.
“’The Fire’ was written about the physical ‘being’ of the fire itself,” Jamie Freeman tells Billboard of the song. “An unfeeling force that simply does what it does, regardless.”
He explains that while the song alludes to the controversy surrounding the deadly fire, he did not want to write a “straight protest song.”
“It seemed too important to be mired in that,” he says. “Little did we know that two years later the story would still be rumbling on. The Grenfell story isn’t mine to tell. I wasn’t there — I experienced the horror at distance along with the rest of the country. But as a songwriter I felt a strong emotional need to honor the event and the people.”
Freeman notes that while he was in Nashville at the time, he wanted to write the track with a “fellow Brit” so he would feel closer to home. It was then that he called Ben Glover (who is from Northern Ireland). “He was the perfect writing partner for the song,” Freeman adds.
The song’s emotional visuals, which were directed by Jeanne Jo and Serena Kuo, were filmed in Lake Tahoe, the Black Rock Desert, Stampede Dam and in Malibu at Rancho Del Cielo.
“The Fire” appears on Freeman’s latest album Dreams About Falling, which is out now via Union Music Label.
You can find out more about the campaign for safe housing by visiting support.grenfellunited.org.