Last Friday, Ashley Delima premiered her new music video, called “Stay in America.” The song heralds Delima’s encouragement to the millions of young adults caught up in the Gordian knot known as DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival immigration policy, effectively making her the teenaged media face of the topic.
Born in New Jersey, when she was seven, Delima moved back to Brazil to live with her parents. Eventually, she returned to New Jersey, hoping her parents would soon join her. Her mother arrived, but her father was deported soon after arrival. Motivated by despair, frustration and resolve, Delima got together with Brielle Brown and Marc Swersky and wrote “Stay in America,” a song for Dreamers.
Sacred Anthem for Dreamers
Produced by Swersky (a two-time Grammy winner) and mixed by Mark Needham, the song features a who’s who of musical talent: Delima on vocals; Danile Sadownick on percussion; Vin Landolfi on guitar; Alan Markley on piano; and Adam Jackson on drums. Utilizing Brazilian guitars, as well as constituents of traditional Afro-Brazilian music called Capoeira, which establishes sacred space by means of a circle (“roda“), the song’s significance revolves around demolishing walls rather than erecting them.
“Stay in America” opens with keening emergent sonic colors flowing into a Latin pop melody full of rich potent harmonics emanating from the guitars and piano. The rhythmic pulse of the tune undulates with palpable energy riding on the authority of the bassline and the delicious polyrhythmic percussion. On the chorus, when the rhythmic and harmonic elements coalesce, the music attains a mystical addictive resonance.
Delima’s voice is tumescent with passion that stridently asserts its vitality. It’s a muscular voice, rife with robust tones, flavors, and colors, along with an elusive exotic inflection that’s aesthetically pleasing, oozing elegant, compelling sonic timbres. For some reason, her voice reminds me of Alanis Morissette, but more radiant and cleaner. The charisma and intensity echoing forth is resplendent, especially when combined with the dazzling background vocal harmonies.
Engaging, Stylish and Entertaining Music
The lyrics of “Stay in America” avoid the dry, lifeless, contrived ambiance prevalent in many “message” songs. In fact, if you didn’t know the story behind the lyrics, you would accept the song as a marvelous Latin pop tune. In other words, “Stay in America” not only presents a message of great consequence, but does so in an engaging, stylish manner, almost as if the message is a disconnected afterthought. And that’s the song’s genius.
“Stay in America” is simply superb! The contagious melody hooks you in, while the rhythm infects your emotional response, inducing you to move to the music and sing along. And Delima’s strong, lush voice mesmerizes you with its opulent tones. “Stay in America” is gorgeous, evocative, and undeniably persuasive.
Stream “Stay in America” on Spotify.
Download “Stay in America” on iTunes.