Witness

Album: Witness (2017)
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Songfacts®:

  • The title track of Benjamin Booker's Witness album, this is darker in tone than the other songs on the record. "Witness" asks two questions I think every person in America needs to ask," Booker said. "'Am I going to be a Witness?' and in today's world, 'Is that enough?'"
  • Booker told The Independent that despite the song's earnest message, he made sure it's not "preachy." He explained:

    "I don't think you can beat people over the head with that kind of stuff. I like people like Bruce Springsteen – you listen to 'Born In The U.S.A.' and it's got this party vibe but when you listen to the lyrics it's actually really dark. It's important to me for a song to be more than the vibe. Maybe you'll listen to the album 20 times and just dance, but on the 21st listen they'll start to think what the song is actually about."
  • The song features soul and gospel legend Mavis Staples. "We knew we wanted a strong female vocal [on this track], and we thought, 'Who else would be better than Mavis'?" Booker recalled to Billboard magazine.
  • Staples recorded her portion in her hometown of Chicago. "She's someone who was very strongly involved in the Civil Rights Movement in the '60s," explained Booker. "So I thought it would be nice to connect the generations, and point people towards someone who has been in [that] place before, and did something about it."

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