Curt Chambers Drops Poignant Song Inspired by George Floyd: 'We Have to Be Strong'
"I truly believe that the way God probably wanted us to do things on earth is to approach our differences with love," the country singer tells PEOPLE
While music powerhouse Curt Chambers spends his days in Los Angeles on movie sets and in music studios surrounded by superstars, he spends his nights often alone, driving along the California countryside in search of a secluded dirt road. And once he finds one, he tends to turn the volume up on the music of country artists such as Blake Shelton, HARDY, Willie Jones, Eric Church, Mickey Guyton … and yes, Morgan Wallen.
And then, he tilts his head back and looks at the stars in the sky above him.
"We all look at the same stars, you know?" Chambers, 33, says quietly during an interview with PEOPLE. "We may look different and feel different from one another, but our hearts often love many of the same things. We can't forget that."
However, as a Black man in the far too white genre of country music, the Grammy winner says he can't ignore the inherent differences between him and many of the people he surrounds himself with on a daily basis.
Granted, it wasn't until the chaotic year of 2020 that he was inspired to write a song about it.
"I was watching George Floyd's funeral service," recalls Chambers, who exclusively premieres the music video for his powerful new song "Different Views" on PEOPLE. "I had many friends performing at his service, and I was just touched by it all. While I watched the service, I started messing around with a melody that kept running though my head."
And then, he got in the shower.
"This never happens, but I wrote half of the first verse and the whole chorus in a matter of seconds," says Chambers, who has worked with some of music's biggest names such as Alicia Keys, Eminem and Chris Young. "I realized that I couldn't finish my shower with these lyrics floating around in my head, so I ran to the microphone and cut the beginnings of that song, literally in a wet towel."
Soon after, Chambers got to work with fellow songwriters Ryan Sorestad and Rachel Lee Thibodeau to finish the song pulled from some of Chambers' most poignant memories of growing up on the streets of Philadelphia.
"There's a line [in the song] talking about a kid running into vacant buildings, and I was that kid," Chambers says. "I can still remember the smell of that backstreet I used to play on, which was right behind the street I grew up on. I'd ride my bike and play in those vacant buildings, which, in hindsight, was pretty dangerous to do, but I was a kid and kids explore."
"Now that I am an adult and as I think about it, I thank God that He spared my life, and I didn't run into anyone who thought I was a threat," he adds.
For some, it might seem to many as a somewhat crazy thought. But unfortunately, it's a reality for many, especially as racial tensions continue to grip the country at the moment.
"The guts of this song basically point out just how different our views are," says Chambers, who described the writing of the song as therapeutic. "All we can do is try to converse with each other and see if we can begin to understand both sides and approach those different sides with grace and love. I truly believe that the way God probably wanted us to do things on earth is to approach our differences with love."
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And that's what Chambers has always tried to do, not only through his actions, but through his songs.
"I'm trying to do it with 'Different Views' and Mickey Guyton did it with 'Black Like Me' and Kane Brown did it with 'Worldwide Beautiful,'" explains Chambers, who has infused his brand of country, rock, soul and hip-hop into songs such as "Roll With It," "Good Thing" and "Up in the Air." "I guess I would just say that, whether through music or through our actions, it would be cool if we could all just do better."
But on the days that things don't change, and people don't show any signs of wanting to do better, Chambers relies on a strength that he was taught to have a long time ago.
"Being an African American man, you learn how to be strong," he concludes. "Everyone has their struggles, but the reality is that a lot of us have been put in a position where we have to be a lion, we have to be strong, we have to be smart, and we have to always work through adversities that some people don't naturally have to."
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