Steve Umculo is a vocalist/songwriter in Johannesburg, South Africa, but he was living in Nashville in 2017, when the concert mass shooting took place in Las Vegas. The event inspired the writing of “Pretty Baby.” His elaboration is copied below.
I wrote this song while living in Nashville in 2017. The Las Vegas shootings happened during that time.
There was a feeling of national mourning surrounding me which sent my mind down a long rabbit hole. I spent days thinking about the human psyche and how the fleeting actions of one individual can negatively affect the lives of so many. I started reading news articles and watching videos about this event and quickly found that I too became emotionally affected. Not only by this one isolated event but by people. What is it that causes us to hate and want to hurt each other? What is it about society that causes humans to lie, steal, cheat and murder? Is this an inevitable set of traits that we must just accept as a part of human nature? Please don’t let it be. I believe we’re better than that.
One particular article that I read was about a husband and wife. While watching Jason Aldean, the husband heard rapid gunfire. Split seconds passed before he looked over only to find his wife lying on the ground with a bullet hole through her head. He managed to escape, carrying his wife's limp body to safety. She was taken to hospital, put on life support and remained in a coma for several days. The husband would arrive at the hospital before sunrise and leave well after dark every single day, in the hopes that his wife would wake up. I read this article while she was still in hospital and wrote this song not knowing what her fate would be.
This song is a result of an isolated event, but I would like to dedicate it to anyone who has lost a loved one due to the unnecessary actions of others. Humans can be cruel, wicked and vindictive but we who are aware of this and want to affect change must strive to exude peace, love and happiness. I want to see events such as this one become less and less frequent until they are eradicated.
I’m not naive. I know I won’t see this dream come to fruition in my lifetime but I like to believe that it is one that we can all strive toward.
“A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.” - Nelson Mandela