Photo: Jon Danovic / Courtesy of Sideways Media

Distant Cousins and Lindsey Ray Get Through the Thick of It in “Here and Now” (premiere)

Collaborating with Nashville's Lindsey Ray, Distant Cousins' folksy "Here and Now" is a timely tribute to the present and getting through tough times together.

While it was written some time before the COVID-19 pandemic, Distant Cousins’ new single, “Here and Now”, is stunningly reflective of the times. The soothing folk song features Nashville singer-songwriter Lindsey Ray, who joins the trio in delivering gorgeous harmonies throughout the serene track. Following her visit to record “Here and Now” with Distant Cousins in LA in late February, Ray actually had to self-quarantine at home. Its video, too, feels timely, featuring the four artists performing the song over a Zoom call. The calming folk of “Here and Now” marks an apt change for Distant Cousins, who are perhaps better known for their stunning harmonies when they’re laid across slicker pop production. Here, alongside Ray, they offer a message of healing in the song’s sweet melodies.

Distant Cousins’ Duvid Swirsky, Dov Rosenblatt, and Ami Kozak reflect on “Here and Now”, as well as the ongoing pandemic, in a chat with PopMatters.

Although it was written prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, “Here & Now” is strikingly reflective of our present day. What are your hopes for this song when communicating its message to people in these uncertain times of social isolation and sickness?

Cousin Duvid: It is interesting how music and art have taken such a central place in our lives during this pandemic. We are all tuning into live performances on social media, listening to music, catching up on books we never read, watching that movie we never got to see etc.

I’ve had songs hit me in such a deep place during this strange time. The right song at the right moment can be really powerful. I cried the other day when a song I had heard a thousand times before came on the radio. I feel like we are all listening with new ears.

One always hopes to communicate through the music but now it feels even more meaningful.

What was it like to collaborate with Lindsey Ray? How did you get connected and at what point did you decide to get working on a song together? How was it recording the music video over Zoom?

Cousin Dov: Lindsey was one of the first people I met in the music community when I moved to LA from NY and we’re both signed with the same licensing company, Secret Road. Despite the years of connections though, we had never collaborated on a song until this one. I reached out when a mutual friend mentioned she was in LA from Nashville – her current hometown – and I told her the Cousins are big fans of what she’s doing and we’d love to co-write. She said it was mutual and she’d love to join the fun!

Within minutes of our first session, Lindsey played us the opening idea of Here & Now and then the rest of the song came pouring out naturally. Only 2 weeks after we wrote the song, the quarantine rules were in full effect and Lindsey had driven home to Nashville. Since we couldn’t all be together, we recorded our parts – and filmed ourselves – separately, and then mixed it all together for the final version. Lindsey is a gem of a talent as a writer, singer and producer and we can’t get over the kismet timing of how and when this all came together!

Not only as artists, but as fathers, husbands, and just people, how have you been getting by in light of the ongoing pandemic? What do you hope we can all reflect on as we all go through experiencing this together?

Cousin Ami: I think everyone’s gratitude for normal life is at an all time high. When this pandemic struck, all the complaining about trivial matters basically disappeared overnight. I recall the days when I complained that my kids were home from school at 3 and my days felt cut short because there wasn’t enough time to get work done! Ha. So overall, it truly does give me a sense of perspective, and gaining that perspective is a major positive thing that I hope will not only help me, but everyone going through this.