- Good Magazine
Oliver Manchon (violin), Beth Meyers (viola), Jeffrey Zeigler (cello), Allyssa Lamb (vocals), Ben Holmes (flugelhorn), Whoopi Goldberg (narration), Michael Hearst (everything else)
It's estimated that one in five people have a fear of flying. Michael Hearst is one of those people. A few years ago, a friend wrote to tell him that one of the few things that soothed her fear of flying was to listen to his album Songs for Ice Cream Trucks. They joked he should compose an album called Songs for Fearful Flyers. At the time Michael was too busy with other projects. Then, a year later while in San Francisco working on a theater production, Michael was suddenly struck with an intense anxiety about his upcoming flight to Paris. Only a few days earlier, an Air France plane had plummeted into the Atlantic Ocean. He knew the odds, he knew the absurdity of his fear, but nevertheless, the panic had already set. He told Ellen, the director of the play, about his anxiety. She said, "You should talk to my friend Whoopi—she's also terrified of flying." Whoopi? Minutes later, Ellen pressed her cell phone to Michael's ear. "Hello?" he asked. An unmistakable voice responded, "Hi Michael. I understand you have a fear of flying." Ms.Goldberg and Michael talked for fifteen minutes. She coached him how to relax during takeoff and landing—how to practice his controlled breathing, and how to distract himself from his overactive imagination. By the end of the conversation, Michael asked if she might be willing to let him record her soothing voice. She did! And here, two years later, is Songs for Fearful Flyers.