Arts and Music

American Anthems

This new six-part series celebrates the inspiring efforts of individuals facing extraordinary circumstances with surprise songs written and performed by music's biggest stars. Each episode follows a different featured artist, including Grammy Award-winning country artist Jennifer Nettles, as they turn a local hero’s transformative story into a powerful and deeply personal anthem.

Episode 6 Preview | What You’re Here For

30s

Singer Ruston Kelly meets Melissa Smith, who runs a performing arts program supporting intellectually disabled adults. Bonding over their pasts, Ruston writes a ballad celebrating Melissa's work and the good we can do when we realize our purpose.

Extras + Features

  • Kate York and Ruston Kelly Writing "What You're Here For": asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Kate York and Ruston Kelly Writing "What You're Here For"

    S1 E6 - 2m 46s

    Singer/songwriters Ruston Kelly and Kate York sit down to write a powerful song. The two discuss their reasoning behind key lyrics and even how certain chord progressions relate back to, and are inspired by, Melissa Smith and Backlight Productions.

  • Ruston Kelly Meets Melissa Smith: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Ruston Kelly Meets Melissa Smith

    S1 E6 - 3m 21s

    Melissa Smith, founder of Backlight Productions, discusses the importance of her organization and what it means to both the actors and families of actors who participate. Singer/songwriter Ruston Kelly stops by to learn more about the organization and Melissa and even gets to jam out with some of the Backlight Productions band.

  • Episode 6 Preview | What You’re Here For: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Episode 6 Preview | What You’re Here For

    S1 E6 - 30s

    Singer Ruston Kelly meets Melissa Smith, who runs a performing arts program supporting intellectually disabled adults. Bonding over their pasts, Ruston writes a ballad celebrating Melissa's work and the good we can do when we realize our purpose.

  • Ruston Kelly Learns About Melissa Smith and the Students: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Ruston Kelly Learns About Melissa Smith and the Students

    S1 E6 - 2m 42s

    Singer/songwriter, Ruston Kelly and Melissa Smith, founder of Backlight Productions, discuss how their upbringings led them to similar changes in their respective career paths. We hear from some of the students/actors at Backlight Productions on what the program means to them. Ruston then gets the chance to perform some scenes with the actors.

  • Cam and Dre Williams Writing "Make Tomorrow Come Today": asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Cam and Dre Williams Writing "Make Tomorrow Come Today"

    S1 E5 - 3m 18s

    Singer/songwriter Cam sits down with friend and songwriter/musician Dre Williams to write an inspired ballot. Cam discusses her reasoning behind key lyrics and even vocal arrangement that is meaningful to the story of Meredith McKinney and the importance of the Black Book Project.

  • Episode 5 Preview | Make Tomorrow Come Today: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Episode 5 Preview | Make Tomorrow Come Today

    S1 E5 - 30s

    Meredith McKinney provides underserved children with books featuring diverse characters. Grammy nominee Cam, a diversity advocate in the music industry, teams with songwriter Dre Williams to perform a stirring original folk anthem for Meredith.

  • Meredith McKinney Collects and Distributes Books: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Meredith McKinney Collects and Distributes Books

    S1 E5 - 2m 43s

    Meredith McKinney, founder of Black Book Project, receives and distributes books with African American protagonists and donates them to children who might have not had the opportunity to see the likes of themselves represented in literature. The children express their excitement to take the books home.

  • Cam and Meredith McKinney Connect: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Cam and Meredith McKinney Connect

    S1 E5 - 3m

    Meredith McKinney, founder of the Black Book Project sits down with singer/songwriter Cam to discuss the importance of representation in children's literature, how Cam finds inspiration for writing her songs, and how Meredith found her calling. The two then join a young volunteer and help label books for donation.

  • Lindsay Ell Discusses Music Inspiration: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Lindsay Ell Discusses Music Inspiration

    S1 E4 - 1m 36s

    Lindsay Ell discusses how songwriting and playing guitar have helped her connect to who she is. Music has been an outlet for her and her entire last album was inspired by art being a way to process feelings. This leads her to Greta McClain, founder of Silent No Longer, whose entire mission is just that.

  • Lindsay Ell and Greta McClain Share Stories: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Lindsay Ell and Greta McClain Share Stories

    S1 E4 - 2m 32s

    Greta McClain, founder of Silent No Longer, shares her survivor story with singer/songwriter Lindsay Ell. The two are at an art studio, one of the many forms of expression Silent No Longer promotes to those dealing with trauma from sexual assault. Lindsay and Greta do pottery and Lindsay teaches Greta some guitar.

  • Episode 4 Preview | Let The Words Come Out: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Episode 4 Preview | Let The Words Come Out

    S1 E4 - 30s

    Country star Lindsay Ell bonds with Greta McClain over their shared sexual assault tragedies. With Kristian Bush, Lindsay crafts and performs an electric country rock anthem that Greta can use as a fight song in her mission of caring.

  • Lindsay Ell and Kristian Bush Write "Let The Words Come Out": asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Lindsay Ell and Kristian Bush Write "Let The Words Come Out"

    S1 E4 - 2m 6s

    Singer/songwriters Kristian Bush and Lindsay Ell craft a heartfelt and moving song based on Greta McClain and her non-profit organization, Silent No Longer. Lindsay and Kristian discuss the reason behind using certain lyrics in the song to emphasize key points they are trying to highlight in hopes of honoring Greta they best they can.

Schedule

WETA Passport

Stream tens of thousands of hours of your PBS and local favorites with WETA Passport whenever and wherever you want. Catch up on a single episode or binge-watch full seasons before they air on TV.

Similar Shows