Story Behind The Song: My First Name
My First Name
I’d had this refrain dancing around in my mind for years. “I want to go where everyone knows my first name.” Like a pebble in my shoe, I wanted to pluck it out of it’s loneliness as a solitary line. I’d tried for years to give it the company I knew it deserved - verses, a bridge, anything to accompany it really - but I felt stuck with the single lyric and melody that I’d sing to myself, maybe with a glass of wine and a guitar, in hope that something else would come, but it never did. Perhaps I couldn’t let go of the idea because it was and is my prayer, or at least my hope for deep community and a feeling of belonging. I’ve felt lonely and isolated for so long. I would ponder: If I wasn’t here, no one would notice the difference. This kind of thinking, along with feeling like a very small fish in the giant career pond I’d chosen, amplified my sense of alone-ness, of not being known and recognized, let alone appreciated.
I brought the line to Brandon and Emily that day, nervous with my nylon strings and high frail singing. I’m glad I did. We filled the song with meaningful poetry and coaxed forth some beautiful melodies; it was exhilarating to watch it take shape. My collaborators easily took the song to places that I’d found hard to access on my own. Brittany came in in later weeks to fill holes and make the song into something really special.
We search for our tribe. I like to hope that we can find our tribe, and in my daydream, everyone surrounding me knows me well, sees me, really sees me, and can say my name to me in greeting. “O to feel known and accepted” - I warm my hands to this lyric, and gather near to such feelings of acceptance when I perceive them. I especially enjoy that unwavering, unconditional kind of acceptance that I’m privileged to receive from my heavenly Father. It’s truly a joy to sense and experience love from it’s Source, and if you haven’t I’d recommend asking your Creator how he feels about you. The answer might be a welcome surprise. It has been for me.
Looking back, this song was truly born out of questions that each one of us had in our hearts; most of which we could not find answers to. When writing this song, we all had different concepts of what these lyrics meant to us. In the end, we agreed that we as human beings have voids in our hearts that only the creator of the universe can fill. We long to be accepted, welcomed, and loved fully without any restriction. We long to be known, hence the lyric “I wanna go where everyone knows my first name”. Our hope is that listeners will be able to relate to this song and let their own hearts long for more.
I came in really late in the game to help rig the lyric to this song a bit. The song was already hauntingly beautiful, atmospheric even. So, when Brandon and I got together to rework some of the words, we wanted to make sure the changes only strengthened the song and added more weight to the message. The message is that we were all made to find home in someone, some place. It’s a song about community, familiarity and family. It’s about humanity finding its way back to the way we were intended to live—together harmoniously.