It’s important to keep in mind on Valentine’s Day that relationships are not always good, or easy, or safe. Many women and men face the agnoizing situation of being caught in an abusive relationship without knowing how or when to escape, a reality that Irish singer-songwriter Hoizer calls attention to in his new song, “Cherry Wine”. Backed by a gentle, twinkling guitar, it’s easy to mistake this soft, melodic piece for something benign if you’re not paying attention to the lyrics. It’s not until lines like, “Hot and fast and angry as she can be/ I walk my days on a wire./It looks ugly, but it’s clean,/Oh momma, don’t fuss over me,” hit you that you see the dark underbelly many people live with every day, hidden underneath a pleasant appearance.
Similarly, the song’s video—starring Oscar nominee Saorise Ronan—highlights how easily domestic violence is concealed. It’s not until halfway through the video, which largely depicts a kissing, cuddling couple, that the woman’s black eye is revealed after she takes off her makeup. In an interview, Hoizer says “domestic violence is an ongoing issue in our society, the statistics of which are shocking and the effects of which damage whole families, communities and span generations.” In addition to raising awareness with the video, which closes with the hashtag #faceuptodomesticviolence, the singer has decided to donate all of the proceeds from the single to several international abuse charities, including Women’s Aid in the UK.