Updated: Apr 7

We all know the story of the Nativity. Virgin Mary. Joseph. Miraculous conception. Journey. Water breaks. No room in the inn. Manger. Birth. Jesus.

This is not that story.

Nativity reimagines the biblical story in an alternate reality- a cross between ancient Israel and modern day New York City. Mari is a poor immigrant girl who sings in the subway for change. Joe is the heir to King Carpentry, the construction conglomerate that built the city. Mari has ambitions to change the world with her music, but struggles to believe that her dream is possible because of Israel's distaste for “foreigners”. Joe, a native of Israel, combats the expectations of his intense Father, Herald King, the CEO of King Carpentry. The unexpected romance results in tension between their two disapproving worlds as well as the conception of a child that complicates both of their situations. The plot thickens even more when Mari’s world crumbles at the worst time, and she finds herself alone on the streets, seeking refuge while in labor. We see the nativity scene through a new light, and we must ask ourselves if we as Americans aren't heeding the ancient dangers of exclusion.

A couple of months ago I decided to make a small change. I've been writing music since I was 11 years old, and even though it may seem as though I'm fearless when it comes to sharing my work, that is not always the case. I will workshop, and edit, and fiddle with material for years before sharing it with anyone, and that is something I've been trying to manage in my creative processes. I decided that an easy step towards changing that was submitting for my first ever songwriting competition- one hosted by Broadway star Taylor Louderman.

I thought:

"The worst that could happen is I don't get it."

"I won't get it."

"You know, it would be so cool to get it."

"Even if I don't get it, I'm glad I finally just did it."

"I know I'm not going to get it. I wish I could just know now.

Then I waited.

On the evening of March 11th, I received an email letting me know that I was one of the six winners chosen, and that I earned the opportunity to have my song recorded by Taylor Louderman at Ghostlight Records in NYC.

There's something about the moment that self doubt is forced to retreat to its dark corner because of an accomplishment. This moment was pivotal for me not only because of the incredible opportunity that I know will change my life, but also because it was a big step in my willingness and fearlessness to share. To not write silently to myself, but confidently-OUT LOUD.

I am ecstatic to travel to New York in May to live out a dream, and I will document the experience through vlogs to be posted here, so stay tuned! I hope my story can inspire some other young black boy who likes writing music to do so joyously, knowing that my spirit cheers him on.

Joriah Kwame