The big-voiced singer delivers a stately version of the Gloria Gaynor classic
Following a recent licensing run-in with Facebook, ANOHNI finally felt compelled to record a studio take of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," a disco classic that stands as the first song that ANOHNI performed in New York City night clubs beginning at age 20.
"I sang it hundreds of times," the musician wrote in a statement accompanying the release. "In those days I sang it thinking of Marsha P. Johnson and the underground queer community struggling to survive in the face of AIDS. Now it seems to me like an anthem for the future of life on earth."
Fittingly, ANOHNI's haunting version takes a less celebratory tone than the original, mirroring the gravity of this moment. Give the song a listen below, and then scroll down to read the singer's full statement about its release.
In June, Facebook offered me 200,000$ to license an old live version of me singing “I Will Survive” for an advertisement that represented Facebook as an advocate for small businesses. Although I really could have used the money, I said no because I didn’t want to be complicit in Facebook’s hosting of fake news which might enable the re-election of Donald Trump. They wrote back saying that they were placating other participants’ concerns by making donations to their charities of choice, in addition to paying them. I woke up the next morning and realized this isn’t even advertising; this is politics, and i don’t even know how deep this water is. This company Droga5 worked with Obama and Google and others. I had to walk away.
A month later I saw the ad. Facebook had hired another singer to emulate my version of the song.
It was a nauseating feeling.
We all know that Facebook, Google, Twitter, Amazon and others now seem to be destroying our lives, our minds, our jobs, our cultures, and our societies’ ability to govern themselves.
We as artists were the first ones to be led to the stall to begin feeding, and being drained by, companies including Apple and Facebook.
And now as artists, we must be the first to leave. We must show that it is possible to live without Instagram, without Facebook, without Google and Amazon. We must endeavor to rebuild our lives and our communities, our private conversations, in ways that don’t rely on manipulative infrastructures and interfaces provided by the world’s richest and most malevolent corporations.
After the Facebook debacle, i felt compelled to complete my studio version of “I Will Survive”. It was the first song I ever sang in nightclubs in NYC when I was 20 years old. I sang it hundreds of times. In those days I sang it thinking of Marsha P. Johnson and the underground queer community struggling to survive in the face of AIDS. Now it seems to me like an anthem for the future of life on earth.
Obviously, Youtube is owned by Google. I haven’t closed all my accounts. But I want to talk to you about this; I want to be a part of this conversation.
October 30th 2020
I Will Survive (Perren, Frederick J.; Fekaris, Dino) p.Universal Music Publishing Group
voice and piano ANOHNI
guitars by Oren Bloedow
strings by Max Moston
mixed by Alex Silva
video featuring Anohni and Chloe Dzubilo, 1992/94
Performance and Video c. Rebis Music 2020