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Earlier in the year I found this artist, Idalee, on SoundCloud and put his music on my list, and then forgot about it. I listened to it again today and did a more in-depth search on him. I related to it more than I realized. Music has been part of my life since the 2nd grade. I always knew, without a doubt, it was who I am. Like him, Iso had an affinity for drugs and it almost managed to kill me like it almost killed him. I don’t know where it came from.

Why did I want to do drugs? Because I was scared of people, and because I knew there was no reason why anyone would want to be around me. I had no self worth, no confidence. My inferiority complex was deep. Drugs helped me pretend I was stronger – more outgoing – likeable. I came out of my shell and could be the person I wanted to be. But I was young and stupid and thought nothing bad would happen to me – as most youth do.

So this song – When Do We Heal? – has to begin with knowing we deserve to heal. And that healing has to be spread to others – without being judgemental. Everyone has their own healing. No one is born perfect.

I started healing in 1988, when I was 34, when I started studying Nichiren Buddhism. I needed to study my life. Why did I feel the way I did about my life? What was my purpose? How do I change the parts of myself that needed changing? I absolutely do not believe in a God “out there” that plans our life and loves me,too. Healing is up to me. I can’t all something else to do it for me. That is my choice and I don’t think people should follow my choice nor should they try to choose for me our tell me I’m wrong.

Over these years of study I began to understand where my music comes from and my purpose to create. The older I get, the stronger the need to express myself with music becomes. It has the power to aid in healing. To put these feelings into a solid form and then hear it back and never even remember playing it, is awesome. I just close my eyes and it comes out of’fingers. I feel the pain of others. It overwhelms me. I cry. Any deep emotion – happy, sad or anger makes me cry.

My music led me to the prisons. It was a place full of broken people, many with no one to care. I understand that sometimes good people screw up big time, but that doesn’t mean they are worthless. There are many reasons why people end up inside and why some don’t. Beginning my journey, ten years ago into understanding the people in our prisons and the torture they are given to demean them until they are broken is so wrong. This knowledge gave my music a purpose. Instead of writing music to become the next Stevie Nick’s, as I was told, I learned that reason never works.

I now write for people. I give my music as gifts. It is the most I have to give of myself. The older I get the more it means. It doesn’t have to be loved by the masses. It needs to only affect one person, hopefully in a positive way. Below the video I am going to add a recent piece I’ve published before. It catches in my throat because it says exactly what I mean. “Picking Up Broken Pieces”

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About Idalee

Heal: An in-prison music video by Idalee In honor of Prison Fellowship’s 40th anniversary, singer-songwriter Idalee has gifted us his new song called “Heal.” It’s a song about #grace and #secondchances. It begs the question, #whendoweheal? Prison Fellowship partnered with Idalee to take the song into prison, where he performed “Heal” with a band of incarcerated men. The result was this amazing music video/documentary. Take a look and SHARE it with your friends. Then head over to idalee.com/heal to grab your free download of the song! Posted by Prison Fellowship on Wednesday, February 24, 2016

WHY I EVEN CARE ABOUT PRISONERS

It’s become pretty common knowledge that American prisons are overcrowded, over-criminalization locks away too many people, and mandatory minimum sentences are setting our culture back. They’re big problems and there are more than a few opinions on how to change this. I’m not really gonna talk about that now. Through performing music in prison and shooting video with inmates all over the country, I’ve really cared most about a true second chance afforded to those men and women released back to society – which is over 90% of incarcerated people. I care about them getting help on the inside and a fair enough playing field for them to get to work when they get out. I didn’t go to prison myself. Could have. Easily. But I didn’t. But I’m aware that there was only one variance between what I did – I’d be there too. Regardless – I feel like I got a second chance at music after the accident. I got a second chance to do what I wanted to do with my life – to contribute – to create. For those who TRULY work for a second chance – I want them to get it.

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