Gabriella Cilmi (pronounced “chill me” — and she does give me chills) was all of 17 years old when she co-wrote and recorded this song and others on her debut album, Lessons to be Learned. This is no Avril Lavigne, or Miley Cyrus, or Britney Spears. Cilmi has a soul of the ancients, and a deep, resonant voice that sees into the heart of the matter at hand. There’s another vid I’ll post which reveals a presence well beyond her years. But back to this song.
Safer is a beautifully crafted song beginning with just a piano melody and light string accompaniment then building and building in intensity and instrumentation and voices, a growing desperation, a growing unease, a need to feel safer when there seems to be no steady ground.
I wonder how I’ll get back down
And just then the moment is lost,
I stumble and I hit the ground
No hope, no way out, a heart broken to the core. But then…
Deep in your heart you’ll find what you need
Wasted time building castles with sand
And every night I’ll watch them fall and slip through my hands
Don’t look beyond yourself for that safety. The strength you seek, find it in your own heart, not someone else’s. That sense of safety in someone else’s arms almost always slips through your hands.
A weaker voice, or a younger soul, couldn’t give these words the gravitas Cilmi does here. Even most of today’s divas would run vocal circles around the lyric, making the song as much about their voice as the meaning. Cilmi cuts straight to the heart of the matter.