GRAMMY®-award winning singer/songwriter Jennifer Nettles debuts a new song titled “King Of The City” today. The composition — inspired by the story of an immigrant window washer who perished in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 — premieres shortly before the sixteenth anniversary of the attack.
“It has been so long since I started writing this song, but I was only able to finish it in the last year,” says Nettles. “I was inspired by the political tensions in our country right now. I want to humanize the immigrant story as an American story, and allow people a different narrative from what they might be seeing on the news or in their communities.”
“King Of The City” tells the story of Jose, who went from delivering pizzas to a job where his “throne sits downtown in the air.” He recalls watching the first plane hit the tower, lamenting “that day on my perch, I made it a church/And I prayed for each soul to fly home.”
Nettles, who lived in Mexico and studied Spanish and anthropology in college, now resides in New York City, where her apartment overlooks the Freedom Tower site. “September 11 was such a tragedy that everyone rallied around,” she says. “We all hurt on that day, we were all Americans and all patriots, and the immigrant story is the real American dream — to come and build your life in this place.” Or, as her narrator Jose puts it, “It’s true I wasn’t born here/But my heart is sworn here.”
“King Of The City” is the latest in a wide range of creative efforts by the PLATINUM-selling Nettles. Last year, she released two new albums on Big Machine Records — PLAYING WITH FIRE and TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS — and starred in the Emmy-nominated special Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love. This summer, she returned to the stage in a production of Mamma Mia! at the Hollywood Bowl; it was her co-star in the show, Latin superstar Jaime Camil, who first proposed the idea of Nettles performing “King Of The City” on Univision.
“What I like to do as an artist is not wave a flag and scream in your face,” she says. “I like to sit in the corner and say, ‘Look over here, here’s a different story, another way to look at this.’ The places I want to address are places of pain, to say, ‘Where does it hurt? Let’s talk about that’ — and we are hurting as a country. So I hope that within the Latino community, people feel validated and seen with this song, and I hope that within the country at large it sends a message of unity.”
Listen to “King Of The City” below…