Grammy Award winner Leon Bridges teamed up with LA jazz musician and hip-hop artist Terrace Martin on a track from the perspective of a Black man taking his final breath. They originally wrote the song for a future album, but in light of the movement surrounding George Floyd’s murder, Bridges and Martin elected to share the single early.
Over a rolling beat inflected with brass percussion provided by Martin, Bridges croons his poignant lyrics. “Hoping for a life more sweeter / Instead I’m just a story repeating / Why do I fear with skin dark as night? / Can’t feel peace with those judging eyes,” Bridges sings.
In a statement about the track, Bridges discussed drawing influences from his own experience growing up in Texas and facing prejudice:
“Growing up in Texas I have personally experienced racism, my friends have experienced racism. From adolescence we are taught how to conduct ourselves when we encounter police to avoid the consequences of being racially profiled. I have been numb for too long, calloused when it came to the issues of police brutality. The death of George Floyd was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. It was the first time I wept for a man I never met. I am George Floyd, my brothers are George Floyd, and my sisters are George Floyd. I cannot and will not be silent any longer. Just as Abel’s blood was crying out to God, George Floyd is crying out to me. So, I present to you Sweeter.”
Echoing Bridges’ statement, Martin said the song was written for the heart: “It is always an honor to share a platform with my dear brother Leon Bridges. This is meditation music; it is not music for the ears but rather music for the heart. I truly believe that eyes have been deceiving us for so long but the heart always tells the truth. The heart needs to be repaired. Black folk have been deceived so many years, the only thing that can turn it around is a heart full of love.”
Listen to “Sweeter” above.