© 2024 Iowa Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

The Revolution Starts With Community In Amber Mark's Cover Of 'My People'

Amber Mark urges her people to hold on to love in "My People," a neo-soul rendition of "My People ... Hold On" by the Temptations co-founder Eddie Kendricks. The singer-songwriter updates the source material, originally released in the '70s, reimagining Kendricks' R&B- stirring funk as a breathy, forward-thinking ballad.

The song parallels the momentum of a revolution. With each new movement, a different instrument joins Mark's raspy voice: drums, piano and cymbals all build to a powerful crescendo. With her layered harmonies, Mark considers the weight of the movement; the song is a reminder that, despite grief and violence, the power of the people united holds vast potential for positive change ("The time has come in this land / When the lion must lay down with the lamb / Brothers and sisters, lay side by side / Hold on to love, let its light be your guide.")

While advocating for love, Mark always keeps the starting point in mind — a community taking to the streets. "My People" ends with protesters chanting "What do we want? / Justice! / When do we want it? / Now!" over an approaching police siren.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LaTesha Harris
LaTesha Harris is NPR Music's editorial assistant. A relentless jack-of-all-trades, she takes turns writing, editing and producing music coverage. Invested in the culture behind pop, hip-hop and R&B, her work highlights the intersection between identity and history. Once in a blue moon, Harris moonlights as a talking head with no filter.