A joyful anthem celebrating the human spirit has been released by Lexi Jones, a 2014 graduate of Batavia High School, and her writing partner, Kianna Ryan, who comprise the duo Phoenix UnCaged.
Jones, who studied film and music at Waubonsee Community College, put together a 78-second video featuring a portion of the song "This is Who We Are."
Check out the smile-inducing video at youtu.be/f7RiKIrr5zM. Jones said she put it together from public domain footage.
"We are giving this all away for free, making this about community, and coming together as people," Jones said.
She and Ryan extend their appreciation to all the doctors, nurses, health care workers, first responders, military, delivery workers, food service and everyone else putting themselves at risk during this pandemic, Jones said in announcing the song release.
"'This Is Who We Are' is a thank you for reminding us about the courage, hope and strength that unites us. These are difficult times and we’re inspired by all the dedication, selflessness and service. We will get through these times together because this is who we are," Jones said.
The duo's lyrics are set to music composed by their producer, Randy Lynch, of Three Worlds Entertainment in Michigan.
"We were able to record it before this all got crazy – we were in the middle of writing it," Jones said. "We were writing it to be a song of hope and a song of love and to bring people together. We decided it would be a great song to release now and to thank all the people working on the frontlines."
An excerpt of the lyrics includes "Together we’re a steady rock, we will never falter; this is who we are."
The song title is the chorus, which features Jones' soaring soprano.
"I did all the harmonies myself," she said. "We record the melody first and I go back and sing over that with different layers of harmony."
She and Ryan, of Flint, Michigan, have collaborated for about four years.
"The majority of our songs we write together," Jones said. "We both are pursuing a solo career as well [and] have songs out by ourselves. … We work really well together and bring out different aspects of ourselves that are hidden sometimes."
Jones describes Phoenix UnCaged as a pop rock power duo.
"It's kind of based on standing up for yourself, girl power," she said.
As for her personal musical style, she said she's all over the place when it comes to her writing and what she listens to.
"I really love songwriting," Jones said. "I change up my styles as a challenge. I like writing country, pop and rock."
Jones, who has performed in the U.S. and England, hopes to have a solo EP completed by the end of the year. She lives in Wrigleyville in Chicago, where she normally waitresses for a living.
But the temporary new normal meant fewer day job hours and more time to create.
"[I have] more energy to focus on music," she said.
VIDEO LINK: youtu.be/f7RiKIrr5zM