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Lee's still molding impressionable minds, even though he's not in the classroom anymore. Like any musician with a folk bent, he strives to invoke change and elevate awareness with his music, writing songs that generally reflect a world of unrest: Cities crumble with tension; people walk around with clenched fists, boozing away their troubles, dealing with broken faith and suffering though fear, loneliness and hopelessness.
"Desperation is a feeling you can either let control you or you control it," he says. "I struggle. Who doesn't struggle? Look at everybody around you. Taxicab drivers, schoolteachers, mothers, soldiers or whomever. Everybody is struggling.... I'm only going off what I see around me today.
"My mother's worked since she was sixteen years old," he adds. "I've been raised with certain values, and the value I hold most dear is compassion for other people. I don't always fulfill that, but I'm just trying to keep my eyes open to a lot of what other people are going through. I feel a responsibility as a citizen of this country to have compassion for those who have been less fortunate, because I have been gifted with so much around me. All that desperation and all that isolation [in my songs] is not necessarily caused by my yearning for connection with people, per se, but it's a yearning for myself and other people around me to be a little more aware of others who are less fortunate."
While fans and industry types rave about his smooth vocals and catchy rhythms, Lee is hopeful that the ideals behind his music have lasting and positive effects on listeners.
"I'm just trying to put music out there in an honest way that lets people decide for themselves what is best," he concludes. "I leave it at that."
Hats off to that.