IRISH SINGER-SONGWRITER, JACK O’ROURKE, HAS RELEASED ‘SILENCE’, A HAUNTING BALLAD ABOUT HIS OWN STRUGGLE FOR SELF ACCEPTANCE.
The poignant track tells the story of an adolescent having to hide his true self to avoid judgement, and beatings, from classmates.
“Silence is about my own struggle to reach self-acceptance,” says O’Rourke. “To the boy that I was, being free to live and love openly felt like an impossible dream.”
O’Rourke says that the song, proceeds of which will go towards Amnesty International’s Let’s Make History – YES Campaign, was originally slated to appear on his new EP The Other Side of Now. With the upcoming referendum on marriage equality, O’Rourke decided to release the single ahead of time.
“Ireland has a chance to take a huge step forward on the 22nd of May, to make it clear that we believe in equality – that we want to be a society where everyone is free to live and love in the open.
“I believe my song could resonate with so many people – gay, straight, whatever and particularly people on the fence about how to vote. I think people will understand that me getting married, or many like me, won’t cause the sky to fall in. The fact that my country men and women will hopefully decide that I should be free to marry the person that I love is a huge deal; it would have seemed impossible to the boy in the song. Underneath all those minor chords, the man can now dream.”.
Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International-Ireland, said, “I was blown away when I first heard Silence. It is such a beautiful, poignant and powerful track. It speaks to the experience of many of us, those who grew up in an Ireland which didn’t seem to really value us. That was tough, hiding the best of ourselves, our capacity to love, forced instead to live a pretence, for fear of judgement and rejection. But hopefully that’s an Ireland we can consign to history on the 22nd of May when we have a chance to make history, to assert a republic of equals, one where we have no more ‘silent songbirds’.”
On March 22 Amnesty International Ireland launched ‘Let’s Make History’ – its campaign for a Yes vote in the Marriage Equality Referendum – with a large public rally outside the GPO on O’Connell Street in Dublin. The event saw mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, grandparents all pledging to vote YES in the upcoming referendum.