Jonas Martin Makes MAGNET A Mix Tape

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We featured Jonas Martin’s new track “Wannabe” on our MP3 At 3PM series a few weeks ago, but we have more Jonas to give you. Today, we’re bringing you a very special and heavy-hearted mix tape, inspired by the events that took place in Dallas earlier this month. Listen to the mix, and read Jonas’s introduction and explanations below.

“It’s soon after the attack that killed five police officers during a demonstration against police brutality here in Dallas. I was there, taking part in the protest, and I witnessed the chaos first-hand as the initial shots were fired. After running blocks away from the gunfire with my wife, we spent hours locked down in the back-kitchen hallway of a hotel with several dozen others, not knowing what was going on or how much danger we were in. It was a traumatic experience but I don’t regret being there for a minute. I want to make clear that we were protesting injustice and police brutality, not the police themselves. They were extremely supportive during the rally and march and did an amazing job of protecting us when the danger began. Something that has resounded in my mind, after learning what the shooter did, is the thought that I can’t let the conversation be hijacked by the violent events of that night. The moving speeches given about racism and injustice and the positive vibes in the air as we marched through downtown in unity chanting “Black Lives Matter” are the moments that I want people to remember. One of the amazing things about music is how it can change your perspective and give you insight. So I thought I’d take this opportunity to share some songs that have helped to open my eyes to certain things. Songs that, in a way, may have had a role in sending me to the rally that evening.”

Outkast, “Gasoline Dreams”
I got a copy of the album Stankonia from my sister for Christmas in 2000. I was 14 years old, and I would never be the same. Music became a much larger landscape, and they definitely affected the way I would write songs later in life. Thank the universe for Outkast. That album helped to inform a young teenage me that it doesn’t matter if you’re black, white or whatever. All that mattered was that I would never be as cool as these ice-cold dudes. Video

Stevie Wonder, “Big Brother”
Stevie Wonder is one of my first and biggest influences. Everything he writes about is interesting, and he was someone who showed me early on in my songwriting career that you can write about anything you want. Talking Book was the first album that I got of his, and this song has always been one of my favorites. Video

Bob Dylan, “The Death Of Emmett Till”
In my quest for truth through music, I inevitably found Dylan. This haunting story is about as real as it gets. Emmett Till was a 14-year-old boy living in Mississippi in the 1940s. After supposedly flirting with a white woman, he was beaten, tortured, shot and thrown into a river. Video

Mos Def, “Mr. Nigga”
Mos Def is the shit, and he tells it like it is. I’m white, so I have no idea what it’s like to be looked at suspiciously because you have nice things, but I doubt it could be described any better than the way he does it on this track. Video

Bob Marley, “War”
I could probably put any Bob Marley song on this list and it would work with the message I’m presenting, but this one in particular seems appropriate after what happened in Dallas. “Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, everywhere is war.” Video

Randy Newman, “Rednecks”
No one can use satire the way Randy Newman can, and he has become the songwriter who I idolize the most. In this song, he does such an amazing job of making fun of the ignorant white “good old boys” who I’ve met too often living in the south. But more than that, he really makes you see how full of shit people are when they call America, “The land of the free.” Video

Billie Holiday, “Strange Fruit”
I absolutely adore Billie Holiday. No other voice could haunt you in such a way, and this song is disturbing to say the least. Describing something that continued to be a terribly ordinary sight in the south for a century after the end of slavery, it paints an awful picture of what things must have been like in those days. Video

Sam Cooke, “A Change Is Gonna Come”
I’ll end it with the best, Sam Cooke. A sad but still optimistic song about the future of black America. One day, this will all just be something in the history books. As someone said at the Dallas rally (before all the violence), “This started a long time ago and we have a long road ahead, but we will prevail.” Video

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