04 May Featured Artist | Henry Nunez | We Are In This Together
Henry Nunez is a proud Vietnam vet from the Dominican Republic, a fellow NY’er, and an avid songwriter. Today he shares his story of writing “We Are In This Together” while under lock-down from his home in Queens.
From where in the country are you writing? Is everything shut down where you live?
I am writing from Queens, N.Y. Forest Hills, to be exact. Except for supermarkets and pharmacies, everything else is shut down.
Your song resonated with us here in NYC, where those on the front lines have been especially put to the test. Tell us about the process of how you wrote it. What was the first part you came up with? For example, did you start with the title, the chorus, or something else? How did you build out the song from there?
As far as writing, “We Are In This Together”, I had written other poems about Covid-19, which were funny about my experiences shopping in the supermarket just trying to buy toilet paper and sanitizing supplies. One day while talking to my friend Bobby on the phone, he said, “things are bad, Hank, gotta pray for N.Y.” “Hey, maybe you should write a song about that”. It wasn’t until perhaps a week later, after hearing a lot about “we’re all in this together” that I decided to write the song. I wrote the 1st verse and then I just took it from there or should I say, the words led me to what the song finally became.
Do you find your writing comes easily? How much do you self-edit your lyrics, after you’ve written your first draft? Do you ever have to make tough cuts?
My writing at times comes easily. I guess it depends if it’s coming from my heart or my head. I don’t self-edit a lot. Yes, I may change a word here and there, or once in a while, I’ll change where I put a verse in the song but not that often. After I had finished writing this one, I knew I didn’t have a title for it, so I went to the chorus and took it from there.
You mentioned Bob Dylan in your lyrics. Are you a big fan?
Before I had started to write the song, I had seen Bob Dylan’s video of “Murder Most Foul”. I’m a big fan of his music and writings. I could never write like him, but anyway, that’s the reason he is mentioned.
Have you been writing songs your whole life? What and when was the first song you ever wrote (if you can remember)?
I started writing way back when I used to read The Beatles early lyrics and I used to tell myself, “I think I can do that”. Those were poems back then. A few years later, I started to put a chorus and turned them into songs. I don’t recall my first song but I have written about O.J. (Obscured Justice) and 911 (When Terrorists Converge W.T.C.). I was born in the Dominican Republic. I came to the U.S. in 1961 when I was 11 years old. I am also a very proud Vietnam vet.