This first release marks the beginning of a new ‘Climate Music Series’ launched by PATHWAY TO PARIS and KABINETT

Musician, Composer, and Pathway to Paris Co-Founder Jesse Paris Smith launches her first solo release, recorded at Electric Lady Studios in NYC, with all proceeds going to Pathway to Paris

December 31, 2019: This New Years Eve, Jesse Paris Smith, Co-founder of the climate action organization, PATHWAY TO PARIS, has released, ‘Legacies,’  her first ever solo track. Timed purposely to close out the decade, this song also launches the organization’s new project, a series of music and songs focused on climate action and a shift for the new decade ahead. The music series will include original songs from their long time contributors, as well as musicians and activists from all over the world. Their aim is to highlight the music and art being created in communities everywhere to raise awareness for the urgent shift that must take place in this new decade if we are to save our planet and humanity as we know it. The proceeds of all tracks in the music series, including this first one will go to Pathway to Paris, supporting their work to engage citizens more fully, and help cities around the world to transition to 100% renewable energy and zero emissions by 2040. 

This first song, written and performed by Jesse Paris Smith, also serves as her first ever solo release. Recorded at Electric Lady Studios in NYC on December 20th, the 8 minute track serves as a clarion call for contemplation and self reflection, to look at our actions from the past decade, and a call to action to shift our consciousness in this new year, in this decade ahead.  

While Jesse’s voice and the lyrics (below) are the main focus of the song, the track includes ukulele performed by Jesse, as well as synthesizer by Eric Hoegemeyer, a longtime collaborator of Jesse’s. The track also opens with a short audio bit of Carl Sagan, the American astronomer who died in 1996, reminding us of our responsibility to Earth and the cosmos above. 

The lyrics carry a similar request, exploring themes such as climate disaster, consumption, greed and power, and the warning of the possibility of human extinction. The line at the end of the track from which the title comes says, ‘No one will remember us, cause legacies mean nothing to birds in the sky.’ But among the track as well as a warning, is an idea of hope, of one last chance for our collective energy to save us. So there is still a thread of optimism and brightness amongst the dark shadows.

“Of course I am concerned every single day with the looming disaster of the climate emergency, and this is where our focus and energy are in our work with everything we do. But on one particular day, I was thinking a lot about students and the school shootings. I went onto Wikipedia and searched for the history of school shootings in America. There was a list of all of them, dating back to the 19th century. I sat at the kitchen table and read every single one, from 1840 all the way to now. There were so many, so many names, so many forgotten souls, so many terrible stories. It was so sad and gut wrenching and I sat at the table in tears. Then I went into my bedroom with my ukulele and wrote this song. There is a line that says ‘one should have been more than enough,’ and that is the line that is the most about the shootings. The whole thing is really just about the general idea of observing our behavior as individuals and collectively. Other parts of the song are about climate disaster, and can be metaphors for other subjects and issues, too. Consumption, loss of connection, lack of love, war, greed, destruction, family separation, social media, fame, etc. Everything is connected, all of the issues, and all of us. It is time now for real shift in our consciousness and in our actions, and I truly hope and I do truly, really believe that 2020 and this new decade will bring about this major shift that we so desperately need. I mean we have to. This is our last chance for it.” – Jesse Paris Smith

Featured with the release is beautiful cover art highlighting a painting by San Francisco based artist, Michael Kerbow, whose work focuses on themes like climate change and consumption. The work is titled, ‘Ultima Thule’ and is part of his ‘Portents’ series.

“My art explores how we engage with our surroundings, and the possible consequences our actions have upon the world around us. I seek to question the rationale of our choices, and attempt to reveal the dichotomy that may exist between what we desire and what we manifest. Recently my work has focused upon the dynamics underlying modern society, and the future aftermath of our present actions. I examine themes such as hyper-consumerism and ecology, and create allegories of our collective pursuits.” — Michael Kerbow

Following the release of the song and the launch of the music series, a video component by Eduardo Costantini, founder of KABINETT (a new partner of Pathway to Paris) will also be released in 2020, when the song will also be available on iTunes.

’There’s no more time. We need to act. This is why at KABINETT, we decided to partner with PATHWAY TO PARIS.” — Eduardo Costantini, Founder of KABINETT 

Also included on the cover is handwriting by Jesse’s mother, Patti Smith, (who turned 73 on December 30) who is also a strong supporter of Pathway to Paris.

“Artists are blessed with the ability to inspire and incite, but in the end it is the people who facilitate change. Pathway to Paris brings these forces together, art and activism. Their events bring to the forefront our civic duties and the joy and possibilities of unity.” – Patti Smith

Bringing together emerging and leading musicians & artists, this  will serve as a call to action, urging the international community to ramp up ambition towards a climate safe future for all.

“In the world of music, the best way to improve is through practice and collaboration. This is the same with the critical issue of climate change. We must join together to make this the most ambitious collaboration of our century. We will not be able to implement crucial and challenging solutions to climate change, plastic pollution, and all urgent environmental problems as long as we stand idle and divided. Inseparable from the issue of climate change is the need for world peace, global communication, and an international collaboration unmatched by any event in human history.”– Co-Founder of Pathway to Paris, Jesse Paris Smith

“Cities play a critical role in transforming our world out of the era of fossil fuels and into a renewable world. This is our time to make this shift and transform our cities to become sustainable, resilient cities for us all and future generations. This is our chance as our window of time is narrowing.” – Co-Founder of Pathway to Paris, Rebecca Foon

Happy New Year from Pathway to Paris. Let’s enter 2020 with optimism, renewed hope, and a clear vision of the roles we must fully step into in order to tackle the heavy work load ahead. Let’s make this the decade that we turn the Paris Agreement into action. Together let’s transition out of the era of fossil fuels and into a new era of 100% renewable energy. Looking forward to seeing you all as we work together as a planet to create a better world for each other and for future generations. 2020, we are ready for you. 

Written and Performed by Jesse Paris Smith
Released December 31, 2019


From underneath the surface of the sea, what do you see?
From underneath the surface of the sea, what do you see?
From underneath the surface of the sea, what do you see?
From underneath the surface of the sea, what do you see?

I see a hand pressed to glass in the sky
but an ocean divides the stars from the night
is there a bridge, is there a boat, is there a wall, oh, I don’t know
how I wish you would turn and say goodnight

now it’s deep in the darkest hour of the loneliest century
had to tear ourselves away and fall into the sea
we can still hear the bodies shifting in the walls
as they breathe or sleep
but they wanted to paint a masterpiece

someday maybe soon
we will sleep again
but it’s hard to imagine now

did you notice how everything’s shifting when the eagle’s cracked?
when we close our eyes we can almost get that golden feeling back
to see our dreams alive as they were
to see an eagle fly across our hand

but then we open our eyes and the chilling storm
frightens our bones to their very core
and I find each day as we slip away more
that the world resembles a spider web
yes, a spider web is strong
surviving through the greatest storms
though it’s scary because
most of the things that it catches will die

someday maybe soon
we will sleep once more
though it’s hard to imagine now

From underneath the pile of rubble, what do you see?
From underneath the pile of rubble, what do you see?
From underneath the pile of rubble, what do you see?
From underneath the pile of rubble, what do you see?

I see a body twisting, trying to speak
and the dark cloud surrounding their lungs
carries them away to the sea
then a building of gold collapses from right underneath
with nothing to ground in catastrophe

now it’s deep in the final year of this old decade
had to build an armor of wings and try to fly away
one should have been more than enough
but now that so much has been lost
and now that we’ve all had our time in the sun

can we open our eyes to the chilling storm
that frightens our souls to their very core?
can we see each day as see slip away more
that this world will be resembling an old cobweb?
bodies blow away in the dust
memories with no place to exist
no one will remember us
cause legacies mean nothing to the birds in the sky.

climb up to the top of the trees and tell me, what do you see?
climb up to the top of the trees and tell me, what do you see?
climb up to the top of the trees and tell me, what do you see?
climb up to the top of the trees and tell me, what do you see?


Lyrics by Jesse Paris Smith, 2019