It began its life as a humble and very personal contribution to the 2017 Women’s March in Washington D.C., but after being captured on video and and shared online, ‘Quiet’ became a “protest anthem for the ages.”
As part of a year-long series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action, NPR’s Elizabeth Blair has looked back at how the song, co-written by Connie Lim in 2015, came to connect so many hearts and minds.
Lim, who performs as MILCK, told Blair she always viewed it as her “personal therapy song,” to help her cope with having been sexually assaulted and abused when she was a teenager. But after hearing the way women were spoken about during the 2016 U.S. election, she felt compelled to share the powerful song more widely. “The rhetoric that was used to describe women really enraged me, and just kind of brought me back to those feelings of when I was younger,” Lim says.
She set about organizing to teach the song to female a cappella singers in D.C. (via Skype from her Los Angeles base) with a plan to take the song to the march, planned for the day after President Trump’s inauguration. Performing throughout the enormous crowd on January 20, 2017, stopping where they could find space, MILCK and her 26 singers made an instant impact.
“Every time we sang we saw people watching, and there would be people looking right at us, crying,” recalls participant Tessa O’Rourke. “And then we would look at each other and start crying. It was all just so emotionally charged.”
“This was one of those moments that I think everybody around just felt, something extraordinary is happening,” says filmmaker Alma Ha’rel, who shot the video that went viral. “MILCK really gave a voice to a lot of women with that song.”
Within two days, it had some 8 million views, thanks in part to being retweeted by a range of celebrities.
The singers went on to perform it on TV, with host Samantha Bee calling it “a protest anthem for the ages,” and after the sheet music went up online, the song took on a life of its own — across the nation and around the world.
From snowy Sweden to sunny Ghana, and on the stage of the 2017 Women in the World Summit in New York, women were seen and heard singing their hearts out, in an ecstatic, cathartic uprising.
Watch MILCK’s powerful performance of ‘Quiet’ at the 2017 Women in the World Summit in New York:
Read the full story at NPR.