While many celebrities have reacted to the shocking murder of 49 people at Orlando's gay nightclub Pulse with thoughts, prayers and love, Melissa Etheridge did what comes naturally: she wrote a song. The out rocker released "Pulse" on Wednesday, an urgent, emotional anthem with a simple, powerful message that seeks to find unity where some would look to divide: "I am human, I am love/ And my heart beats in my blood/ Love will always win, underneath the skin/ Everybody's got a pulse."
Commenting on an act that has been tagged as both terrorism and an attack on the LGBTQ community, Etheridge's song falls firmly in the tradition of such folk forebearers as Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie by taking events ripped from the headlines and putting a universal, human face on them.
"Everybody's got a pain inside/ Imaginary wounds they fight to hide/ How can I hate them, when everybody's got a pulse?," Etheridge sings in her signature rasp on the song you can listen to on Rolling Stone. She told The Advocate that she penned the track while on tour because that's what she does.
"I found myself roaming around my apartment," she told the gay publication. "I knew that would make me feel better, and I just started writing... I get so moved by so many things, not just the sadness of tragedy. I also get moved by how we react. Unfortunately, it takes a hideous event like this, but sometimes it brings people together and moves others who might have been like, 'That gay thing is not anything I'm concerned about.' It moves them and they think, I have to stand on the side of love and peace."
At one point in the four-and-a-half minute track she appears to address the 29-year-old shooter, who also injured 53 during the hours-long spree on Sunday, asking, "who you gonna hate now?/ When there's no one left but you?/ Who you gonna gun down?/ If you can't kill the truth that it's inside of us/ Inside our blood, inside our pulse."
After recording the song Etheridge said she found out that one of the women killed in the shooting, bouncer Kimberly Morris, was from Torrington, Connecticut, where the songwriter was slated to play on Wednesday night. At the show, she dedicated "Pulse" to Morris.
Etheridge will offer the song for sale soon, with proceeds going to Equality Florida.
Check out how other celebrities paid tribute in the gallery below.
Celebrities react to the Orlando shooiting
Celebrities react to the Orlando shooiting
The tragedy in Orlando is just beyond sad. My deepest regrets to all those suffering. There are no words that suffice. I'm...stunned.
Horrified by the mass shooting in Orlando. When will we do something to prevent these killing sprees?
Heartbroken about the shooting in Orlando. My prayers and thoughts are with you all in America. I pray for this world to change!
Tweeting about this kind of tragedy feels so insignificant. But let's all pray for Orlando FL today. And the world. I'm in disbelief.
Unspeakable. So much suffering today. My heart goes out to the families of the victims in Orlando. #Pride
Another embarrassing day to be a human. My thoughts and prayers are with #orlando, the #LGBT community and sane people everywhere.
Knowing there are people in this world who are celebrating the massacre in #Orlando sickens me. The God I love LOVES EVERYONE!!!!
❤️Sad day.... My heart and love goes out to all the families effected by this senseless shooting and killing of innocent loved ones #Orlando
I don't really wanna finger-point and fight about this. I just want to be sad. #Orlando
Madness. Hideous and cruel madness. To the survivors, and families of those slain, I'm so sorry. #StopGunViolence
Waking up to this horrifying and heartbreaking news. I don't know what to say anymore. #PrayForHumanity #Orlando ❤️💛💚💙💜
To our gay, lesbian, bisexual, & trans friends-- the world is mourning. #LOVENOTHATE
Can't even fathom what the people in Orlando are going through right now. My prayers are with the victims' families & all those affected...
How many people have to be killed before we act as a nation to #EndGunViolence? #Orlando @Everytown @MomsDemand https://t.co/UBeBearjF2
My thoughts and prayers are w my brothers and sisters who were at Orlando's Pulse Nightclub. RIP to those who lost their lives.
I am speechless, sick, and so sad reading the news from Orlando. Sending strength to my gay brothers and sisters. 50 people!!!! FIFTY
I'm heartbroken by this tragedy. Praying for Orlando and the suffering created by this senseless violence.
Sickening news. All my love to Orlando.
I am heartbroken..My thoughts and prayers are with those affected by last night's tragedy in Orlando. 💔
Seeing the news this morning & my heart truly hurts. My thoughts and prayers are with all the victims families.. https://t.co/phACO5YV4N
How how how how can one have so much hate ????? My heart...... is so broken. Praying for the families of the Orlando victims. I am so sorry.
Just now catching up on the tragedy in Orlando... Sickening. Praying.
I'm heartbroken over this hate crime 💔 Thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Orlando 🙏
Love is the only answer. #prayfororlando
My heart goes out to the victims and their families. Our community has suffered a tremendous loss. We must stand together more than ever.
Heartbroken. Scared. Angry. So much senseless death in Orlando & across this country. Sending love & prayers to all suffering. Horrific
I'm heartbroken for the victims, for Orlando, for the LGBT community, for our country. When does it end?
I'm horrified & deeply saddened by the senseless, tragic shooting in #Orlando. My heart breaks for the victims, their families & loved ones.
Horrified watching the news. Where has the love in our world gone. Honestly I don't know what to say. So sad. So wrong #PrayingForOrlando
NO WORDS GOOD ENOUGH😫‼️WHEN UR HURT, WOUNDED, MURDERED WE ALL CRY‼️WE ALL MOURN ‼️WE R ALL LESS WITHOUT U MY EXTENDED FAMILY😥😭‼️#URNOTALONE
Saddened by the news this morning. Such a shame. My thoughts and prayers go out to those affected in Orlando.
I'm truly at a loss for words. To everyone in Orlando affected by this massacre, my thoughts, love, & prayers are with u ❤️💛💚💙💜
Hearing about this senseless & horrific tragedy in #Orlando. Heartbroken for my LGBTQ brothers & sisters. Time for change. #GunControlNow
Pray for the #Orlando community.
Pray for the #LGBT community.
Pray for the American community. https://t.co/lpRojXLl1R
My heart goes out to the victims and families of the horrific tragedy in Orlando. What has this world come to? Shocking!