Bonnie Raitt made quite the impression at this year’s Grammy Awards, where she took home the honors for Song of the Year and Best American Roots Song for “Just Like That,” as well as Best Americana Performance for “Made Up Mind.”
That win triggered a number of younger music fans to discover Raitt for the first time, and countless others to reach out with their congratulations, wrapping the praise within their own, heartfelt stories, which listening to the lyrics of “Just Like That” brought crashing to the forefront for so many who have had any experience at all with organ donation.
Yesterday, Feb. 10, Raitt took a moment to “respond to the incredible outpouring of messages that have come in since…” winning in a post shared on Facebook.
“I’ve been so deeply moved, often to tears, reading the personal stories of hundreds of you, some of whom have had no familiarity with me or my music before I won that GRAMMY, and were curious why this song had won,” she began her lengthy message, addressing those who had reached out after listening to the song for the first time with their own “heart-wrenching” memories involving having a family member saved by organ donation or, alternatively, having to make the decision to donate a loved one’s organs to save others.
She went on to call the stories, which have come in from medical professionals who work in transplant medicine, as well, and “have moved [her] as much as anything [she] can remember,” a gift. “These stories run the gamut and I’m just blown open by the vulnerability and power of each of them,” she continued, noting how “honored” she is that her song has elicited such a reaction before going on to explain the inspiration behind it: a segment she saw several years ago on the evening news.
“…they followed a woman who was meeting the man who had received her son’s heart for the first time. It was very emotional, but when he invited her to put her head on his chest and listen to her son’s heart, I just lost it. I knew after it stayed with me for weeks, that I wanted to write my own story, inspired so much by John Prine’s music and his beautiful “Angel From Montgomery,” which I’ve sung every show since hearing it in the early 70’s.”
Raitt’s song details the story of a fictional woman, Olivia Zand, who is swirling in the grief and guilt that came after losing her young son until she “finds redemption and grace through the loving act of another.”
Raitt hopes the song raises awareness and encourages others to support and sign up to be organ donors, and may also lead to “removing obstacles that have hindered helping thousands connecting to facilitate this miraculous gift of life and help bring comfort to those suffering such tragic loss.”
She went on to link to an op-ed from Dr. Maureen McBride, interim CEO of United Network for Organ Sharing, about the importance of supporting organ donation programs and again thanked those that have reached out to share their stories with her, many of which can be read in the comments below the lyric video on YouTube.
“More than any award, fame or commercial success, knowing what my song means to so many may be the greatest gift of all,” she signed off.
Congratulations on your big wins, Bonnie!