H.E.R. debuted a new song, “I Can’t Breathe,” which she wrote in response to the recent spate of police killings of unarmed black citizens and the swell of protests against police brutality and systemic racism. The musician shared the song during her performance on the iHeartRadio Living Room Concert Series.
H.E.R. opened her set with “I Can’t Breathe,” introducing the song by saying, “Just by the title, you know that it means something very, very kind of painful and very revealing… These lyrics were kind of easy to write because it came from a conversation with what’s happening right now, what’s been happening, and the change that we need to see. I think music is powerful when it comes to change and when it comes to healing, and that’s why I wrote this song — to make a mark in history.”
The tune itself is somber acoustic blues with H.E.R. leading the way as a lonesome electric guitar and a keening organ alternately bubble to the surface. “Praying for change because the pain makes you tender,” H.E.R. sings, “All of the names you refuse to remember/Was somebody’s brother or friend, son to a mother that’s crying, saying/I can’t breathe, you’re taking my life from me.”
H.E.R.’s performance on the iHeartRadio Living Room Series helped raise money for Meals on Wheels and the Urban League. The series has also featured performances from Thomas Rhett, Katy Perry, Sam Smith and Brett Eldredge.
H.E.R. released her most recent album, I Used to Know Her, last August.