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Love, Art, Hurricanes
Fri February 14, 2014
Woman Hates Songwriter's Big Hit, Marries Him Anyway
This is a story about a song. So you really kind of have to hear it. Check it out:
Just before Hurricane Andrew wreaked havoc in Miami-Dade County in 1992, Zach Ziskin had left South Florida for the Berklee College of Music in Boston. His cousin, Bruce Berman, rode out the storm in a closet in Country Walk, while the house he was in blew apart all around him.
After the storm, everyone was trying to figure out how to help. Bruce and Zach, who were in a band called No End, did the thing they knew how to do; they wrote a song. They were inspired by "We are the World," which had raised around $60 million to try to help ease famine in Africa (and you can hear the influence).
Zach and Bruce wrote "Somehow We Will Survive" over the phone.
Through some contacts of Bruce's, they got to record the song at Criteria Studios, a major recording hub in rock world, where Eric Clapton recorded "Layla" and the Eagles recorded "Hotel California."
IT'S A HIT
The song took off. It was on the news and on the radio. They were asked to play it live for a live satellite broadcast at a huge relief concert at Joe Robbie Stadium.
Zach was only 18 years old when all this was happening, and for him, it was a really big deal.
"The life of a musician -- there’s always a lot of road blocks and a lot of reasons to give up," says Zach. "So for me I think if that hadn’t happened I might have just kind of relegated it to a side thing."
The song raised tens of thousands of dollars. Zach is still a musician, songwriter and music producer.
MAKE IT STOP
While "Somehow We Will Survive" was changing Zach's life, it was driving Jodi Nabel absolutely nuts.
"It. Was. Everywhere," she says. "Just over and over -- it was like on a loop."
Even 20 years later, it's easy for her to remember what she hated so much about the song: "I just didn’t like the vocal on it, I didn’t like the arrangement, I didn’t like anything about it. It was just so hokey. And I was like, 'if I ever meet this person, I’m gonna smack him.'”
It took six years, but she got that chance, only instead of smacking him, she ended up dating him.
To be fair, she didn't know he was the guy who'd written the song. Turns out Zach was a friend of friend, and since several years had passed since the song was a hit, nobody mentioned it. They'd already been dating for several months before it came up, and by then, she liked him enough to overlook what she believed (and still believes) to be a horrible song. Jodi says she feels bad that she doesn't like it. She wishes she could. But she really can't.
When he played a solo acoustic version in the WLRN studios while we were recording this story, she made gagging noises from the control room and joked about hoping it would be over soon.
Jodi and Zach were married by a notary in their living room on December 27, 2001 (you can see wedding photo in the slideshow above).
Cupid works in mysterious ways. Happy Valentine's Day, everyone.
We found this story because Jodi Ziskin got in touch with us through the Public Insight Network. You can too.