Recording artist Kelly Lang is known primarily as a singer and songwriter, but she’s also a painter and a comedian, and is making a name for herself as a public speaker. And while she has mostly been identified with Nashville and country music, her star is now on the rise because of her song “I’m Not Going Anywhere,” which began gaining attention through its inclusion in Ascension Hospitals’ televised ad campaign during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The song of love, encouragement and reassurance first made an impact in a TV ad originally broadcast in the Nashville area. But once a curious public began to learn more about the song and the singer through the Shazam app by holding their cell phones up to the screen, Lang’s relative worldwide anonymity was over.
“It’s changed my life forever,” Lang said. “I wrote that song close to 17 years ago, before I became a breast cancer patient. The song was an encouraging thing to let people to know they’re not alone, and then 16 years later the pandemic would hit and people would have to leave their loved ones in nursing homes and needed comfort for them, and the song began to rejuvenate itself. A lot of people think I wrote it because of my battle with breast cancer, but I wrote it before that.”
“Ascension’s released ad campaign started off in Nashville only,” she continued, “and as the pandemic got worse they decided to run it nationally. And you would not believe how many people put their phones up to the commercial, and it made the Shazam chart, and I didn’t even know there was a Shazam chart!”
In terms of business, landing a song in a national ad campaign is a songwriter’s dream, and it’s even better when the writer is also the artist. But it’s clear that, while Lang is happy with the financial windfall, the idea of making money was never the reason for writing the song. “I’m not gonna lie, it’s been a nice paycheck,” said Lang, who is married to country music legend T.G. Sheppard. “But it’s afforded me the opportunity to really share my story on a higher platform. The song has changed my life and improved it in many different ways. And with social media, it’s all over the world. That commercial’s been able to be spread everywhere.”
Explaining how Ascension came to use her recording of the song, Lang said, “They had seen me singing on a YouTube video from the Bluebird Café. And they were aware of my breast cancer journey because they had filmed T.G. and me here at our house, and they asked me to sing a little bit of a song that might be inspirational and uplifting that I’d written. So I sang a verse of ‘I’m Not Going Anywhere,’ and it was in an infomercial that they played in their doctors’ offices lobby.”
Lang’s song is a great example of how music can make a real difference in people’s lives. “I’m getting the most beautiful letters from people all over the world, saying how the song has inspired them or comforted them,” she said. “It’s been a life-altering situation because Ascension has said I’m the voice of their hospital, which is such a flattering thing. It’s been wonderful to know that my songwriting has touched people in their hearts. It’s really an amazing feeling.”