Singled Out: Justine Dorsey's Unsaid
Many of my songs are based on imagined instances, on other people's experiences, or stories I've read. But every so often, something happens in my life that I just can't not write about. "Unsaid" was one of those songs. I just couldn't not write it.
Every word of it is true, and every time I sing it, I'm back at that special open mic at 125 Broadway Avenue: the world is an inky blue Thursday night, fairy lights strung over a cobblestone street. The jangling sound of nervous musicians' guitars floats up into the air with the smoke of their friends' cigarettes.
I'm one of those nervous musicians. I'm sitting on a bench, softly strumming my guitar- I'll be performing soon. Fingers sliding across frets- the feeling of calm. A figure sits down next to me, and I stiffen and turn away like the words "DO NOT TALK TO STRANGERS" are tattooed on my skin. But when the figure speaks, his voice is sweet: "I'm sorry, is anyone sitting here?"
Okay, so as you can see, this night that I couldn't not write about was nothing earth-shattering. I didn't save a baby falling from a burning building. There were no mysterious apparitions to be spotted, no life-changing epiphanies to be had. I met a boy, simple as that. I met a boy, and he had a lovely face, and we had a nice conversation about our favorite music. We sang for each other and watched people walk by. Acquaintances of mine stopped by to say hello. A skinny Hispanic kid played us Pink Floyd on my guitar. A strange man with a fanny pack, when he thought I wasn't listening, nudged the not-yet subject of "Unsaid" to ask for my name and for my number. Numbers weren't exchanged, but names were. (I'm not gonna tell you who he is, though. That remains a secret.) Eventually, I performed. He didn't come in to watch. When I'd finished and went back outside, he was gone.
I rode home that night, forehead pressed to the window, my dad at the wheel, buildings and headlights blurring into an oil painting in my tired eyes, and thinking of this boy, this boy who was, let's face it, much older than me. He was an impossibility that was pointless to chase.
When I got home that night, I wrote "Unsaid". What the song is essentially about is human connection. It's a celebration of those unexpected encounters that we have with strangers, encounters that are small, but leave a big impression on us. Most of the time, those strangers never get to know how deeply they affected us. But I wrote "Unsaid" in the hopes that its subject would one day hear it and know just how special that night was to me. "Maybe one day, you'll hear this song and know what I was feeling inside all along." But most likely, the words I wanted to say to him will go unsaid.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!