“Last year, I was asked to perform a Christmas song for the Sirius XM Canada live sessions with my brother Jay.
I instantly chose "Pretty Paper", a powerfully understated song of empathy and compassion penned by one of musical heroes, Willie Nelson. It has always transcended the usual Christmas fare of snow, sleighbells and Santa Claus, instead, being a voice for the voiceless- sung from the perspective of someone who is homeless. It has always pierced my heart.
Growing up on the road with my family band, there were some hard challenges and we were homeless numerous times throughout my childhood, sleeping on couches or mattresses on people's floors, eating from food banks. I remember that powerless feeling of loss of dignity and, while we always had a roof over our heads due to the kindness of friends, family or even strangers, I have always had deep empathy for people without a place to call their own.
This Christmas is going to be hard enough on those of us privileged enough to have a home, so many of us are struggling with loss of jobs and income, let alone those who are powerless and have to rely on the kindness of strangers to assist them through this holiday season.
At a time when many of us celebrate the birth of a baby who was the personification of love, acceptance and compassion, this song embodies those reminders that we need to extend those same things to each other.”
Tami is donating her Bandcamp sales of the song to Auckland City Mission whose work she admires. The Mission has been supporting Aucklanders for 100 years, from families living in poverty by WWI and the Spanish Flu through to today where the organisation focuses on supporting people in three key areas of homelessness, hunger and health.
City Missioner Chris Farrelly welcomes this gift from Tami and her fans. "It's absolutely wonderful to have a Christmas song dedicated to the Mission. Christmas is our busiest time of year, bringing the festive season to Aucklanders in desperate need. Having this support from Tami will help us provide food parcels and presents to families when they really need it the most. As the city faces one of the hardest Christmases in 100 years, the Mission is so grateful for Tami's gift."