Singled Out: Hanna Barakat's Wildfire

Hanna Barakat

Austin alt-rocker Hanna Barakat tells us about her debut single "Wildfire" that was produced by John Moyer of Disturbed, which comes from her forthcoming album "Siren". Here is the story:

During my time at Berklee, I be-friended a man named Andre who pan-handled in front of my work, late nights. I would bring leftovers from my work, he would distribute the food to fellow panhandlers and others, and we would chat on the stoop for hours on end, telling stories and sharing experiences. We had a beautiful and strange friendship. After I had moved across the world, my friend always found a way to keep in touch, sometimes a random email, a disposable phone, and once, a Skype call all the way in Lebanon.

Once day, Andre called me on my US cell, while I was living in Ottawa, Canada. I told him I had met a man, Blue, my, now, husband, and he asked to speak with him on the phone. Andre proceeded to threaten Blue with bodily harm if he ever did anything to hurt me, saying "us homeless, we have a network... I have people". Andre was a veteran of the Vietnam war and a truly unique spirit. One day, he posted on facebook "I learned that people are like fire, they can keep you warm and safe, they can light up the darkness you feel inside or they can rage out of control, burning up all the good you have known in an instant, causing third degree burns you can never fully recover from. I measure people using a fire scale (a camp fire at a distance will give you hope when you are lost in the dark). Who is your camp fire? Who is wild fire?" - Andre Junius French.

Andre immediately messaged me on facebook and said that his most recent "comment about the campfire in the distance was in reference to you (me). You were the light that kept the road lit, so I wouldn't become lost and lose my way in the dark concrete and steel forest of Boston as so many have. Thank you for being you, don't change...your friend until forever starts over, thank you again".

Those words meant everything to me. In some ways, Andre's words inspired not only my song "Wildfire", but also "Leave Your Light On". Both songs were written at very different times in my life, but the underlying thread, the perfect imagery to convey my deepest emotions, came from Andre and his "camp fire".

Wildfire was a song that, for my own sanity, had to be written. My husband and I met in Lebanon, during a very difficult and pivotal time in my husbands life. We fell in love in a very short time, and were immediately met with bigger than life decisions, faced so many hurdles, forcing us to grow emotionally, and as a couple, so quickly, that we hardly had a moment to breathe or just "be". We never had that "honeymoon" phase of dating. We were thrown deep into the deep end of the emotional pool! As my husband is a Lebanese citizen, with no secondary (dual) citizenship, we had to spend years in immigration limbo, country hopping to any country we could get him a visa for, or that didn't require a visa for him, all while waiting for approval to be allowed to travel, as a married couple, to the USA together. We were constantly up-ended from friends, family, normalcy, all while trying a way to the end gaol, to be able to settle down somewhere safe and secure, and start our life together. We battled one another, we fought, we nearly quit, we let our most dark selves show themselves to one another, but we made it through. Wildfire is definitely a song of struggles and battles within our relationship, as well as external barriers and obstacles impeding progress, growth, safety, and a sense of security. From the very beginning, within the first month of our relationship, the wildfires started and never stopped, but somehow we learned how to find our way through them.

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more right here!

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