As the world mourns the senseless loss of life and grapples with moving forward after the horrific June 12 mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, many singers and songwriters are expressing their grief through music.
Young musicians and seasoned superstars alike are turning to song to honor the 49 innocent people who were killed in the attack, with tributes ranging from star-studded covers to heartfelt new compositions.
Near the end of his Ripcord World Tour stop in Tampa, Florida, the country star honored the Pulse victims with a cover of U2’s “One.”
“Before we go I want to say one thing that has really been on my heart for the last week,” Urban told the crowd. “I know we’ve got a lot of folks here from Orlando tonight and although I didn’t know anybody in that horrific incident, I did, because they’re just guys and girls, brothers, sisters. They had dreams and hopes, plans, just like every one of us. So I know them like I know you guys.”
John stopped his Liverpool Echo Arena concert to share a few words about the tragedy.
“When a horror like this massacre in Orlando comes along, great agony crashes across the world like a tsunami and great grief. We feel shocked, angry and we’re devastatingly sad for the people who died and for the loved ones who are mourning,” he said.
“What I find extraordinary and what really gives me strength and hope is that immediately behind that devastation came a different wave,” he continued. “A rainbow-colored wave of love and bravery. From Istanbul to Tel Aviv, from Sydney Opera House to the Eiffel Tower to the Empire State Building and the White House.”
“So tonight while I would like to honor and mourn the LGBT community loss in Orlando and the loss of everyone who has been a victim of hate and stigma and dogma, I would like to say tonight we are winning the fight against prejudice. Prejudice and darkness, because their rainbow wave around the world tells me that we can and we will win against these people.”
The legendary singer also paid tribute to the victims by performing “Candle in the Wind” during his show at England’s Longleat Safari Park.
Some of the brightest stars on Broadway came together to record a benefit single of “What the World Needs Now Is Love.”
Audra McDonald, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Bernadette Peters, Gloria Estefan, Idina Menzel, Joel Grey, Sean Hayes and Whoopi Goldberg, were just some of the A-listers who gathered to pay tribute after the shooting.
“All of us in the Broadway community are deeply, deeply saddened by the senseless tragedy that occurred in Orlando in the early morning hours of June 12,” the participants say in an intro to the song. “We send our love and support and thoughts and prayers to everyone impacted by this act of violence and hate. This terrible cycle of violence and intolerance must end. We want to put out as much love out in the world as we can because only love can conquer hate. Love must prevail.”
Proceeds from the track are going to the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida.
Etheridge poured her heartbreak into a new song, “Pulse,” in the wake of the shooting.
The singer-songwriter performed the track during the live television concert series Infinity Hall Live.
“It was based on the incredible, deep sadness and emotion I felt Sunday morning, when I woke up,” she said of the song. “This is for you. This is for everyone. This is for the whole damn human race.
Aguilera is donating proceeds from her stirring new single “Change” to those affected by the shooting.
“The horrific tragedy that occurred in Orlando continues to weigh heavily on my mind. I am sending so much love and so many prayers to the victims and their families,” the star wrote in a letter posted on her website. “Like so many, I want to help be part of the change this world needs to make it a beautiful inclusive place where humanity can love each other freely and passionately.”
New York Philharmonic
Instead of the opening piece scheduled to kick-off their annual free concert, the Philharmonic performed Barber’s poignant “Adagio for Strings” for a packed Central Park crowd.
“It’s a joyous occasion when we can all gather on such a wonderful night, unfortunately the entire country is suffering in the aftermath of the horrific attacks in Orlando a few days ago,” music director Alan Gilbert told the audience of 50,000. “The musicians of the New York Philharmonic and I would like to perform Barber’s Adagio for Strings instead of the scheduled Rossini overture and we would like to dedicate the concert not just to the memory of the victims, but to the idea that we are all part of a shared humanity.”
At a Madison Square Garden show, the icon performed “You’re Only Human (Second Wind)” for the first time since 1987 in honor of the 49 lives lost.
“We’re no strangers to terrorism and mayhem and grief, maybe here in New York more than any other city in America,” Joel said. “Us guys have been to Orlando many times, and we will be back there again, and I just want to dedicate tonight’s concert to the people of Orlando, especially the families and friends and the loved ones of the victims of this senseless massacre, you’re with us and we’re with you.”
Puth dedicated a Today performance of his hit “See You Again” to both his friend Christina Grimmie and the victims of the Pulse nightclub attack.
“Like I always say, your body dies but your soul lives on, and everyone’s soul who was lost that day goes on through everyone else,” said Puth. “And that’s what ‘See You Again’ is about, it’s kinda to help everyone cope with the loss.”
The superstar dedicated her entire Antwerp, Belgium, concert to the shooting victims.
“The LGBTQ community, they’re like my soulmates since I was really young, so I’m very moved by it,” she told the audience while holding back tears.
Eli Lieb & Brandon Skeie
The singers, along with writers Hillary Bernstein and Mimoza Blinsson, came together to pen “Pulse” following the June 12 horror.
The video for the moving song features people around Los Angeles placing their hands over their hearts in solidarity with the victims.
“This next song is about love and I’d like to dedicate it to all the family members of those who lost their lives in Florida,” Beyoncé told her Detroit fans before performing “Halo” during her Formation tour stop.
The trio showed support for the victims of the shooting by singing Ben Harper’s “Better Way” in front of a rainbow heart at their Madison Square Garden show.
“A real a–hole did something really bad this week and made us feel not ready to make nice, frontwoman Natalie Maines. “But we cannot let the hatred and the anger win out. We can’t leave you guys not ready to make nice. We gotta put positivity out there in the universe to counterbalance all these crazy nut jobs, and we’re going to do that by chanting this song at the top of our lungs.”