New York-based singer-songwriter Lexi Scherr is in pain over President Donald Trump, and she wants you to listen to her grieve.
Sherr has dedicated her latest music project to the five stages of grief, a process she’s been through herself after the November election, when the musician began writing songs on the piano to represent denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
Scherr will be performing all 15 songs of her album “Stages of Grief” one night only at Manhattan’s Rockwood Music Hall on May 9. The free solo show will not only be a cathartic experience, Sherr said, but the only time “Stages of Grief” will be performed live.
“Because I’m doing the songs in order, and once ‘Acceptance’ is done, I want to move past it and move on both musically as well as in my life,” Scherr said.
From November 2016 to April 2017, Scherr wrote three songs for each stage of grief, covering topics including Trump’s policies, sexual assault, social media and the president himself.
The singer took to the piano to record the raw, acoustic tracks — that won’t be released as a fully edited album, she said — with poetic lyrics exploring her emotions, but never calling Trump out by name.
Her song “Little Boxes,” from the “Anger” stage, explores Scherr’s experience with discussing politics with others over social media sites like Twitter.
“In 140 characters or less / I shout back in all caps / it’s not a mystery / it’s anonymity / that let’s us play pretend / with a loaded gun in our hands.”
In “The Magician,” from the “Depression” stage, and a personal favorite of Scherr’s, the singer didn’t hold back. In the song, Scherr refers to Trump as an aging man with a “mouth full of marbles,” seeking the attention and love from others.
“Spotlight’s on / hold for the applause / misdirection / lives for the affections / of a million strangers,” she sings.
Though many of Scherr’s lyrics are subtle, she wants to make sure her message comes across loud and clear.
“A lot of times, I want people to interpret for themselves what [the song’s] about,” she said. “But, for these songs, it’s important that they know what I was inspired by.”
Out of all the stages of grief the most difficult to write, but also a “sigh of relief,” Scherr said, was “Acceptance.” Two of the songs in this stage talk about putting out love and peace into the world, while the third, “Clap Your Hands,” tackles recognizing that not everyone’s viewpoints will line up.
“[‘Clap Your Hands’ is] about accepting that there are going to be people that are just idiots who will believe things that are just untrue,” Scherr said.
The collection, which has been released in stages on Noisetrade, with “Acceptance” coming out next week, is free to download, but tips are encouraged, as they go to a good cause.
Scherr will be donating all proceeds to the Natural Resources Defense Council, an organization focused on ensuring clean air and water in all communities, a cause that Scherr in the past has donated to herself.
“I feel like it’s one of the things’ that’s most imminent of a threat,” Scherr said, referencing the potential political impact on environmental policies. “Climate change has always been a big issue, and I never really understood the denial of facts and data.”
Attendees of Scherr’s Rockwood Music Hall performance will receive a digital download of “Stages of Grief,” complete with commentary explaining each song. For more information, visit the performance page at facebook.com/events.