“Newman took to the piano to write an entire song about social distancing. With typical wit, he narrates from the perspective of someone locked in a home with a “Venus in sweatpants” spouse, one he is very lucky to have.”
—Los Angeles Times
“In Newman fashion, [“Stay Away”] is warm and funny and kinda melancholy—it’s an actual song, one that’s perhaps suited more than any of its contemporaries to capture the new, odd emotions with which we’re all dealing … Buoyed by jaunty piano, it soon cycles into a touching portrait of a 30-year marriage.” —A.V. Club
Randy Newman’s new song, “Stay Away,” written as a PSA about COVID-19 safety for his local Southern California public radio station KPCC, is available to purchase digitally today, April 17, 2020, via the Nonesuch Store and iTunes; it is also streaming at Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, and other services. A video of Newman performing “Stay Away” at home may be seen here. Proceeds from the song will benefit the Ellis Marsalis Center in New Orleans, a city to which Newman has a deep, lifelong personal connection.
In his video performance Newman introduces the song by saying, “I’ve been asked by KPCC to say some words about social distancing, because of my scientific background, because apparently there’s some disease that’s going around. Stay six feet away from people, wash your hands religiously and often, and don’t touch your face.” He concludes, “I wish everyone well, and I wish myself well to some extent. Stay safe. It’s hard for Americans, we don’t like being told what to do at all. But in this case, let’s do it and we’ll be all right. All my love to everybody.”
Located in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward, within the Musicians’ Village, the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music broadens opportunities for underserved children, youth, and musicians. The Center deeply values its connection to the surrounding community and endeavors to be an ongoing source of information and cultural inspiration to residents of the Ninth Ward in particular, and to New Orleans as a whole. It is named in honor of the New Orleans native and legendary jazz pianist, educator, and patriarch of the Marsalis clan, who recently passed away from COVID-19-related complications.
“New Orleans is really suffering and since African Americans are taking the brunt of the punishment, I thought something to help the Ninth Ward would be a good idea,” Newman said. “The Ellis Marsalis Center has a great reputation among musicians and people I know who live in the city.
“If the song makes a great deal of money, all bets are off.”