Jennifer Nettles Releases 9/11 Tribute Song

Jennifer Nettles has released a new song inspired by the story of an immigrant window washer at the World Trade Center who lost his life in the 9/11 attack. “King Of The City” is out just in time for the sixteenth anniversary of the attack.

“It has been so long since I started writing this song, but I was only able to finish it in the last year,” says Nettles. “I was inspired by the political tensions in our country right now. I want to humanize the immigrant story as an American story, and allow people a different narrative from what they might be seeing on the news or in their communities.”

The Georgia native studied Spanish and anthropology in college, and she lived in Mexico for a brief period. She now resides in New York City in an apartment that overlooks the One World Trade Center site.

The track is a poignant reflection of the American dream being lived out through an immigrant named Jose. Jose worked from the ground up, both literally and figuratively. He first held a job delivering pizza through the busy streets of New York City while also taking any sort of side job, no matter how little the pay was. He eventually became a window washer whose “throne sits downtown in the air,” and that is exactly where he was the moment the first plane hit the tower.

“September 11 was such a tragedy that everyone rallied around,” she says. “We all hurt on that day, we were all Americans and all patriots, and the immigrant story is the real American dream — to come and build your life in this place.”

Nettles reiterates that statement in the song, singing from Jose’s point of view, “It’s true I wasn’t born here/But my heart is sworn here.”

While Nettles is passionate about her convictions, she is aware that no two people hold the exact same beliefs. This is a part of what inspired her approach to “King Of The City.”

“What I like to do as an artist is not wave a flag and scream in your face,” she says. “I like to sit in the corner and say, ‘Look over here, here’s a different story, another way to look at this.’ The places I want to address are places of pain, to say, ‘Where does it hurt? Let’s talk about that’ — and we are hurting as a country. So I hope that within the Latino community, people feel validated and seen with this song, and I hope that within the country at large it sends a message of unity.”