Left-wing country star Brad Paisley released “Same Here,” a new song that features a conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has been a frequent guest on multiple entertainment awards shows in the year since his country was first invaded by Russia.
“The world felt like it was in a new place that it hadn’t been in decades,” the three-time Grammy said of his thoughts while making the song, according to the Associated Press.
The song, which will be part of Paisley’s upcoming “Son of the Mountains” album, does not mention Ukraine or Zelenskyy in the lyrics, but does contain a portion of a phone conversation wherein the Ukrainian president speaks about his pride in his country and people.
Zelenskyy’s comments were excerpted from a video call between the foreign leader and the singer during which the president says a yearning for freedom is common to his people and Americans, and noted “There is no distance between our two countries in such values.”
Paisley felt that sentiment has the ring of truth. As he told the AP, “You can put us in different places with different flags and different languages, but we have so many similarities.”
Paisley also said Zelenskyy didn’t simply give his OK to use his voice on the song, but also offered constructive criticism on the song’s lyrics.
The Whiskey Lullaby singer also noted that any royalties he earns from the song will be donated to United24 to build housing for Ukrainians displaced by the war.
“I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I didn’t sort of swing for the fence with things like this,” Paisley exclaimed. “For me, I’m happiest dealing with stuff as a songwriter that’s very true and very, very passionate. And sometimes I don’t know if you’d call it risky, but it’s more like it’s bigger than me.”
“We do deal with stuff going on in the world,” Paisley added. “How do you sing about things that are truly big — a big deal right now — that also don’t feel like maybe they’re the type of thing that you would be singing about typically? And yeah, on this album I have kind of really dug deep and tried to say something.”
Paisley has been supporting Ukraine practically since the beginning of the Russian invasion.
In June last year, Paisley was one of the stars who appeared on NBC’s “Ukraine: Answering the Call ” one-hour special, which was “aimed at educating, raising funds for those whose lives have been shattered by the crisis” in Ukraine.
For his part, Zelensky has been a darling of the entertainment industry and has appeared in many award events over the past year. In April he delivered a pre-taped message during the 2022 Grammys, in Jan. he spoke at the Golden Globes ceremony, and just a week ago he beamed in a message during the opening ceremonies of the Berlin Film Festival. Zelensky also famously took possession of one of actor Sean Penn’s Oscar awards.
The activism is nothing new for Paisley as the star routinely involves himself in political causes. In 2016 he attacked North Carolina for its ban on transgenders using the bathroom of their choice, and in 2021 said you are less of a patriot if you oppose the coronavirus vaccine.
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