On Friday, Paisley released a new song entitled Same Here to mark the sombre one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The track features words spoken by President Zelenskyy, who boldly boasted about the resiliency of Ukraine and its people.
“On this one year anniversary of the invasion, I’m reminded of the ways we are all so similar,” Paisley, 50, wrote on Instagram.
Same Here sees Paisley croon in typical country stylings about traffic, beer, sunsets and watching sports. Using the popular American motifs, Paisley clearly hopes to remind listeners that the human spirit is the same around the world, regardless of geography, culture or language.
“If you miss your mama and worry ’bout your babies / And love each other like crazy / And want someone to share your hopes and fears / Same here,” Paisley sings.
Though he never mentions Ukraine by name, at the end of the song, Paisley includes audio from a phone call between him and Zelenskyy, 45.
He asks Zelenskyy how to say “Same Here” in Ukrainian. The president responds, “Так само.”
“We speak different languages in our life, yes, but I think we appreciate the same things — children, freedom, our flag, our soldiers, our people; the biggest treasure we have — and friends,” Zelenskyy says in the song. “And we’re proud of our army who defends our freedom and will defend our lives.”
The song is Paisley’s first from his new record, Son of the Mountains, which will be released later this year.
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Paisley told the Associated Press that Zelenskyy didn’t just sign off on the song — he even had some constructive criticism to offer.
“I think he understands that art is how you reach the most people, especially in the heart,” Paisley said of Zelenskyy, who was an actor and comedian before becoming president. “He can give as many speeches as he can give, but it’s a lot easier to hear something with a melody maybe.”
Paisley, a three-time Grammy Award winner, said he’s been invited to visit Ukraine, which he’d like to do. In the meantime, he hopes the song’s message will bolster the country now facing a second year of war.
“That’s where it gets really rewarding … feeling like maybe the heart of this helps paint the picture they want to paint,” Paisley said.
Paisley’s royalties for the song will be donated to United24 to help build housing for thousands of displaced Ukrainians whose homes were destroyed in the war, he said.
Using his platform to advocate for causes important to him has always been part of his career, whether it was opening a free grocery store in Nashville with his wife, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, or fighting hunger by donating 1 million meals during the pandemic.
— with files from the Associated Press
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