Photo: Justin Higuchi / Courtesy of the artist

Natalie Gelman’s “The Lights Upstairs” Is an Uplifting Ode to Those with Alzheimer’s (premiere)

Written after her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, folk-pop songstress Natalie Gelman's "The Lights Upstairs" shines a message of love in the face of a terrible disease.

Forty-four million people are living with Alzheimer’s or a related type of dementia worldwide, with millions more also being affected by their loved ones having the disease. It is not easy watching your parent, sibling, or friend forget faces, names, and daily tasks that they had once taken for granted. Folk-pop artist Natalie Gelman can attest to this; her grandmother suffered through Alzheimer’s, and her mother did as well. Co-written with Jessica Leigh Graves, her new single, “The Lights Upstairs”, holds deep personal value to them both.

“Both Jessica and I had family who went through the disease. My grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s, and now as my mom’s health was beginning to decline, I wanted her to know that it would be okay; I would be there for her and love her as she was,” says Gelman.

Instead of focusing on the copious downsides that the disease brings, it’s an encouraging number told sweetly from the caretaker’s perspective. The deeply uplifting song will especially leave a mark on those who can relate to it, although all listeners will enjoy how Gelman pours out her soul. The release is accompanied by a charming animated video put together by BumbleBeeble, which PopMatters is premiering a day after the single’s 21 July release.

Gelman adds, “The message of ‘The Lights Upstairs’ is one of unconditional love and acceptance in the face of one of the toughest circumstances to go through with a loved one: Alzheimer’s. I want people who hear it to feel lighter and know that, in the face of diseases, they can hold the beauty and spirit of their loved ones in their hearts. My hope is that this music video is something that can reach across generations. I didn’t understand Alzheimer’s when I lost my grandmother to it as a child. I think this could have been something my mom could have shown me to help start a dialogue about what we were going through as a family.”

Gelman is slated to perform at New York City’s Rockwood Music Hall on 26 July. She is currently wrapping up the production of her debut full-length album as she continues to tour.