Among Authors - Fears We Hold

Song of the Day
Hosted by Kevin Cole

Today's Song of the Day, as chosen by Kevin Cole, host of Drive Time on KEXP, is "Fears We Hold" by Among Authors, a 2022 single on Squaremoss.

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photo by Caroline Anne
written by jasmine Albertson

Five years after releasing their debut album I AM BECOME, atmospheric art-rock outfit Among Authors finally returned last month with a gripping new single. The Seattle-based band is led by Ian Ketterer and the song details the crippling anxiety he’s felt his entire life due to being born without a right thumb or ear coupled with the scars left from multiple invasive surgeries - one to fix a Tracheoesophageal fistula and the other an open heart surgery.

This isn’t just vanity at play, it’s struggling to fit into what is considered “normal” in a very ableist society. But it also hits home for all of us quietly brooding over what we consider to be our imperfections. In “Fears We Hold,” Ketterer sends a message to his younger self that the world isn’t as scary as he thinks it is and that nobody’s out to get him. Led by sparse piano, the song builds and swirls as Ketterer bellows, “So pull back your hair /And roll up your sleeves /Cause nobody cares /Or sees what you see.”

In a reflective and deeply vulnerable Instagram post, Ketterer had this to say about the song:

“I have struggled with hiding the right side of my body my entire life. Everything from my clothing style down to my body movements and positions are all so ingrained in my subconscious and all tailor around making sure nobody can see my right hand, or my missing ear on my right side. I have worn long sleeves my entire life, long hair, even the seemingly simplest every day tasks like going to get Starbucks puts my head in a space where without even thinking about it, I am pulling out my card to pay for my drink in a specific way so my right hand isn't seen. Or when talking to people, always positioning myself so the right side is hidden. Oh god don't even get me started with when I am approached by someone to shake their hand with my right hand. You know what I do? I grab their hand with both my hands so that they don't sense that I have a missing thumb on my right hand. I have lived in my own self-doubt my entire life.
As a musician, I have always had this fear that when my band makes it big some day, and we're at some dumb photoshoot, that my big "lie" will be revealed, we'll get kicked off our record label (which we've yet to have) for not being sellable from a look standpoint, and our music career will be over.
That's all nonsense. I have held onto these unnecessary and irrelevant fears for way too long.
This is who I am.”


Watch Among Authors’ KEXP in-studio performance from 2018 below.


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