“All it takes is just one little act to say thanks,” says Andrew Lessiter, who we spoke to about his own act of creative kindness
By Laura Rutkowski, Staff Writer
Andrew Lessiter has been working for Virgin Media as a sales representative for Plymouth South for almost a year, but he’s been doing something entirely different for much longer. The 37-year-old has been a songwriter for about 20 years, working on television and film projects.
In lockdown, he’s put his talents to good use and co-written “For Our Heroes” with his fiancée Violet Ryder, a freelance videographer who also produced the video that accompanies the track. Here he is, in his own words, on the inspiration behind “For Our Heroes,” which pays tribute to our key workers…
“The riff for the piano and the music for the piano came about two years ago and I couldn’t quite get any lyrics for it. Nothing seemed to work, so I left it for a while. Then the lockdown happened and Violet’s grandfather went into hospital because he needed some work done on his spine. While he was in there, he also caught COVID-19, so that was really tough. He’s full of life, but he’s so frail, and he’s now been positive for a month.
All of that, mixed with the spirit of going out into the street and hearing people clapping for the NHS and just the different way of life we’re all experiencing, it was like, I should be writing about what I know. People want to get an idea that someone else feels like they do.
It happened pretty quickly in the end. Within about a week, we had a finished song. This is the first time I’ve written a song about a world topic. Violet co-wrote it with me. We didn’t want to write a song that was doom and gloom. We wanted to convey what the truth is for us all, but at the same time, we wanted to celebrate that we’re being taken care of, we’ve got these people who are looking out for us and taking care of our families when they’re in need.
For us, that’s largely been the NHS, but obviously all the other key workers too, the health visitors, the school workers, people in the supermarket checkouts. In the song, we wanted to highlight that we really care about what they’re doing for us, about making sure that we say thank you for this, because it means everything to us all.
Our Virgin Media colleague Andrew Lessiter has been tinkling the ivories during lockdown.
Violet got in touch with local people and said, “We’re making a music video, but we can’t get out and shoot because that wouldn’t be safe, so can you send us footage of people in your street clapping?” People were happy to respond and get involved.
There’s real community spirit in that. People see the video and go, “Hey, that’s us,” or “That’s our next-door neighbour.” This is a project that makes us remember we’re all in this together and music does that. It can really pull people together – it’s universal. The video really does the song justice. It brings the emotion out and it tells you where we are emotionally. Violet’s done a fantastic job with that.
We’re financially sound, but there are a lot of people who are not in a position like that. They’re struggling, they’re worried, they’re alone and the end of the song really captures that. Lockdown for us has meant that we can thrive a bit more because we’ve got more time to do other stuff too. It’s been great to be able to write more music. We’ve got three girls, so having more time together as a family has been a big deal for us.
When you’ve finished a song, you want to share it with people. You want to see if it will hit people how you hope it will – and it did, it really did, which is fantastic. Lots of people loved it and it’s brought joy to people.
I hope people walk away from the song feeling that this is how it is, but as the chorus drives home, this isn’t gonna be forever – we’re gonna be together again.”
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Interviews: Any opinions expressed in interviews are those of the interview subject and not those of Virgin Media.