‘Here and Now’ by Jess King

2022 Dementia Spring Arts Impact Award winner Jess King awakens connection among the dementia community with her song.
Featured Photo: Jess King with Kitten Kuroi and Jake Pace (producer) at recording of Here and Now
Recording day of Here and Now, Jess King alongside the musicians who also contributed to the recording of the dementia-inspired song.

How do you describe Here and Now

Here and Now is a song inspired by dementia and dedicated to anyone and everyone affected by it. I initially wrote it with the intention of awakening love and deepening awareness and appreciation of the present moment. (This is something we learn quickly when confronted with dementia.) Written from my heart and soul, Here and Now is dedicated to each of us, as dementia affects everyone. May you feel its loving energy and may it awaken something deeply healing, connective, and expansive inside of you.

How has the Dementia Spring Arts Impact Award furthered your work? 

The Dementia Spring Arts Impact Award is an honor and a gift to receive, on multiple levels. It has made possible the recording of Here and Now with another beautiful vocalist, Kitten Kuroi, as well as several other very talented musicians. This award and experience is the starting point of an ongoing relationship to connect with, inspire, and support the dementia community.

Jess King with Kitten Kuroi and Jake Pace (producer) at recording of Here and Now
Recording day of Here and Now with Lisa Dondlinger, Kitten Kuroi, Jess King and Angie Swan

What or who initially inspired you to grapple with dementia? 

My father’s transition from dementia almost 2 years ago has been the greatest influence in my personal connection to the disease. However, the song Here and Now from its origin has been inspired by dementia as a whole. As a child and teenager, my mother worked in a rehabilitation center where I remember visiting and feeling compassion for elderly patients who were affected by memory loss. It’s interesting in life when experiences from childhood resurface and connect with us in new ways.

What has been your focus since winning the Dementia Spring Arts Impact Award?

I’m thrilled about how beautiful and moving the recording of Here and Now sounds. We recorded it recently, and on a very momentous day; we were in the middle of the season when we received news that music legend Tina Turner had just transitioned. This knowledge was shocking, devastating, and difficult to receive for myself and the 2 artists with whom I was working. Thankfully (after taking a short break to watch a video of Tina Turner performing live), we were able to channel this beautiful energy and emotion into a magical recording. Sharing this song with the public will feel like a new turning point. Simultaneously, I will be releasing a full album of 9 songs out this fall. It is my goal to have these 2 projects support one another in powerful and positive ways.

What advice do you have for other artists who are telling stories of dementia through their work? 

Honesty, emotion, and laughter are three words that came to mind when I read this question. Telling stories, allowing feelings to flow through our creations and finding the lightness shining through (even during the darkest moments). 

We each have different perspectives and stories and ways of sharing them. Sharing authentically and personally feels important to me. Deep awakening, healing, and love grows through the healing arts; and I believe people are beginning to appreciate the power of this more and more. It all comes back to love, doesn’t it? The desire to share, to feel compassion, to heal, and to do what we can for one another. 

This work is dedicated to: All those who have felt the sting of dementia.

Find more from Jess King on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, and her website. You can also learn more about the 2022 winners and the 2023 application on Dementia Spring’s website.

What is a Spotlight?

The Dementia Arts Spotlight promotes visual and performing artists who are grappling with dementia through original work or innovative arts programs. The Spotlight—in a Q&A format where artists describe the details and significance of their work or program—connects each artist to the Dementia Spring community. Find examples of prior Dementia Arts Spotlights here. Know of an artist whose work should be Spotlighted? Send them this link!

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