Roger Dale: More to the Story
Taylor Harrington 12/7/2021 11:07am EST
Singer-songwriter, North Carolina native, and member of The Native American Lumbee tribe, Roger Dale, has spent the last eight years as a civil rights attorney in Washington, D.C. . On the day of January 6, 2021, Dale sat and watched the news in horror as the Capitol was stormed only a few miles from his home.
“One World, One Love” is a song that Dale wrote in the middle of the night shortly after the insurrection when he could not sleep and was up thinking about how the democracy he had come to know and love was falling apart. A strong advocate for marginalized and underrepresented groups, Dale’s music transcends into a powerful plea for humanity to come together, in one love, and put our differences aside.
Your debut EP Phases and Stages features song “One World, One Love”. What can you tell us about the inspiration behind this track?
How it really came to be was on the day, January 6, when the insurrection happened, I was working from home because of the pandemic. I usually would work in one of the federal buildings, but we’ve been home for well over 16 months. I was working and my mom had visited for a little longer than she usually does. I swear, she has a sixth sense. But, um, she didn’t want to leave. She usually leaves on Sunday, but she said, “I’m gonna just stay a few more days.” I was working and she walked over and she tapped me on my shoulder, because when I’m working, I usually listen to music, and she’s like, “Turn on the news.” When I did I just I went numb because I’m working on federal legislation, and things like that. I’m like, “Wait a minute, you mean, the Federal Government, the Congress, has been overthrown?” For me it was a shocking experience because I raised my right hand to defend the Constitution, and to see that was being overthrown, I didn’t know what to do. I felt unsafe, very insecure, I didn’t know what to do. Who do I call? My mom started crying, and that’s really where my heart started breaking. I just started writing down my feelings. That night above us all we could hear were helicopters, sirens, and people screaminging– yelling and chanting from both sides. We did not leave the entire day or night. We didn’t have an appetite that night and I couldn’t go to sleep, I just took out my journal and started writing these things, like why does it have to be this way, and “One World, One Love” is a result of that.
I was reflecting before I got a chance to speak with you, that it resonates bigger than just our country. If you look at what’s going on in Afghanistan, they need that love that I’m speaking about in that song. “One World, One Love” is where we say that we love democracy and we love our freedom. Well, shouldn’t we all have that freedom in this world if we walk it equally? So that’s what this song is about, and back in January when I was working on it with Justine and Cory, I didn’t realize how profound it was, but now working in civil rights and doing what I do, it’s become bigger than just the insurrection in the United States because there are people that are innocent, that are caught in the crossfire in Afghanistan. They don’t have a voice but they just want one love, someone to step in, and bring them some type of relief. That’s why this song hits hard to me, because I grew up in an impoverished community, and so sometimes I would ask, well, who’s gonna help us? Sometimes you have to help yourself, but when we get to a place where we’ve helped ourselves enough and it’s all we can do, who’s going to step in then and intervene? We all need a helping hand sometimes.
So, Roger, when did you first get into music?
I’ve been into music all of my life. Probably when I was around eight years old, my Mama, my biggest influence and inspiration life, she was the youth choir director at my hometown church in Mount Hebron. Growing up in the church around music and seeing my mama direct the youth choir, I was inspired by music. I wanted to sing, but before she would allow me to sing, she made me pick an instrument to learn. I picked the trumpet. I had to get acclimated with the trumpet and learn to read music and then she allowed me to start singing. I was probably around nine or ten, and from then on, I was enamored by music, but academics was always at the forefront. My Mama was like, “Look, you can sing all day, every day and all night, but I need you to get your degree first.” I said, “Man, I just want to scrape away and make this dream come true”, but she was like, “You are always gonna have this gift, because God gave you that gift, but I need you to do this.” She was always the driving force behind it. Even now, she’s like, “I knew you would do it, but you had to do what you needed to do to get here.”
Now you’re doing both! You’re a civil rights attorney and a succesful musician!
It is beyond my wildest dreams. I swear I sometimes I wake up and I’m like, “Wow. I’m really doing this. This is crazy.”
Roger Dale’s EP, Phases and Stages, is available now, and we are excited to have had the opportunity to sit down and learn more about his story. Watch the full interview below, which even has a special impromtu Chris Stapleton cover, and so much more! Also available for listening everywhere podcasts are available, just search “Confessional Magazine”.
Originally from Edison, New Jersey, Taylor won the 2005 “Middlesex County Caring Award”, and hasn’t stopped caring since. When she is not writing or hosting More to the Story, Taylor can be found chasing her two mutts around Athens, Ohio where she currently resides with her husband. Moving to Appalachia has made a huge impact on her life, and she can’t wait to share some of her stories, laughs, and (mis)adventures with you!
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