Reflections on a Year With “Jonestown”

by Sofia Talvik

(A 2009 jonestown report interview with Ms. Talvik about her song appears here.)

When I wrote the song, “Jonestown,” I never expected it to come to mean so much to people who listened to it. It’s every artist’s dream to feel that their music matters, and in the last year I’ve really felt that. I don’t have a wealth of knowledge about the Jonestown massacre, I just happened to see a documentary about Peoples Temple, and I’m sure that everyone who has watched it was as moved by it as I was. The song itself is inspired by the documentary, but also about people’s need to decide for themselves and the consequences of their actions, something that can apply in so many situations.

I didn’t even dare to consider that I would actually get to “talk” online to one of the survivors of Peoples Temple. It was a very powerful, almost overwhelming experience to get a verdict of the song from someone who was actually there. Being able to touch someone who lived through that with my words that gave me a very special feeling.

I’ve been on several US tours since I released the album. The biggest one was of course when I got to play the Lollapalooza festival. “Jonestown” seems to be a song that sticks with people even if they – like me – don’t have any connection to the actual event. I hope it’s because of the deeper message the song tries to convey. Even though I’ve released two new albums since, Florida and Florida Acoustic, in May 2010, it’s a song I will always carry with me.

Originally posted on July 25th, 2013.

Last modified on December 27th, 2013.
Skip to main content