Chris Jamison wrote his new single, “Faith, Hope, Love,” a couple of years ago, in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shootings in Orlando and other tragedies. But he hung onto it, unsure of when or how to release it. The recent shootings at Tree of Life synagogue in Jamison’s hometown of Pittsburgh, however, hit too close to home to allow him to sit on the song — premiering below — any more.
“I wasn’t sure what to do with it before,” Jamison, who finished third on the seventh season of The Voice, tells Billboard. “I wasn’t sure if it was the right time to put it, the wrong time to put it out. I didn’t want it to seem like I was being opportunistic with it. But I got to a point where I realized that why I make music is to share it with other people, to bring people together.
“And when the (synagogue shootings) happened, because it was so close to home — my home — I felt like it was selfish of me not to release it.”
Jamison, who records for the Pittsburgh-based independent label The Vault, was also inspired to write “Faith, Hope, Love” by the 2016 shooting death of Christina Grimmie, who was a finalist on The Voice the season before him and was the same age. “I had played the show with her a few months prior and shared a meal with her; We weren’t super best friends or close, but I got to know here a little bit,” Jamison recalls. “Just as a musician that was something. It was tough realizing that when you step on stage how vulnerable you are; The last thing you want to think about when you’re sharing music with people is your safety, your band’s safety, people in the audience’s safety.” But Jamison wanted “Faith, Hope, Love” to be about not tragedy but exactly what the title implies.
“A lot of people will say, ‘What’s wrong with the world?’ but they don’t have a solution,” explains the singer and songwriter, who lives about 20 minutes from where Tree of Life is located and watched the events unfold on TV. “I don’t necessarily think I have any sort of crazy, out of the box solution other than the fact I believe that regardless of where you come from, what you think or what your beliefs are, there are certain things every single human being deserves. The only way to get anywhere and have any progress is to sit down, have a conversation and maybe agree to disagree but still have faith, have hope and give love to every single person, regardless of whether you agree or disagree with them. That might seem like too simple of a solution, but it seems like the perfect solution to me.”
Jamison and The Vault will be donating proceeds from the single and hometown shows Jamison has coming up Dec. 5-6 to Tree of Life and its fund for the victims’ families. “This was the best way I felt I could do something to help,” he notes. Jamison, meanwhile, is continuing work on a full album, which he hopes to have ready for release next spring.