"The Reason I'm Here" by Jonny OlleyReview
Released today is the new single "The Reason I'm Here" from Jonny Olley, the follow up to "Tunnel Vision" which we reviewed back in May.
This most moving song is one of those we occasionally encounter which derives solely from a deeply personal source and yet the universality of the message can both make sense to everyone and potentially apply to different but possibly equivalent circumstances in other lives.
It's one of those situations too where any attempt on my part to paraphrase the artist is not only pointless but would remove some elements of their message, so here's what he told me about it: the song "….centres around a conversation I've never had with my sister who has autism. As some of you will know when you have a vulnerable person in your family it's impossible for them to not have a profound impact on your life. My sister certainly has had a big influence on mine and will continue to do so. This song is my promise to look after her after my parents are gone."
What more need I add except that to tell you that Jonny will be donating all the streaming revenue generated by it to the National Autistic Society.
It's pretty easy to imagine that with this depth of personal investment, Jonny will have thrown in everything he was capable of to ensure it was as good as he could make it. I think you can detect that in "The Reason I'm Here". Not that he loses sight of the idea that although the song's heart & central message is to a single, highly specific individual, by issuing it as a single, he also needs us to speak to us as well.
Consequently the tone is quite an unusual one for a song: one might have expected a certain degree of intensity given the circumstances, but Jonny instead has lightened the potential for emotional overload by adopting a really conversational approach vocally: not only does it enhance our capacity to take it in (I'm guessing it will impact on his sister better this way too) but it keeps it as a song and not something which, however well meant, is nonetheless inaccessible to an audience.
Accordingly the accompaniment is kept admirably simple to chime with the spirit of what is being said with mainly an acoustic guitar plus some extras for texture. Helps the clarity of the words too.
Jonny is a little hard on himself in my opinion in the lyrics: especially given the commitment he's making, but then perhaps self critique is in itself evidence of the depth of the commitment.
As a message, "The Reason I'm Here" is rather beyond what I feel I could be critical of: who would not applaud what he's saying? However I can go beyond this & say the song has value & qualities irrespective of its main aim.
Please do support Jonny and National Autistic Society by streaming/buying the single.