In the Same House Liner Notes

St. John’s Kitchen is a soup kitchen in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. I spent some time with this community pre-COVID. One person in particular was gracious enough to spend a great deal of time with me to share how this special, unique space offers community and belonging to some of the most marginalized in our city. 

Here is the extended clip of the interview used on the I’m Who I Am album:

What is interesting about this song is that I incorporated elements of a song I wrote when I was 16 years old. I could hear the song from my past haunting me throughout the songwriting process. I kept hearing this interview quote in my head about being “lost”. Once I finally allowed myself to consider how the song I was writing and the chorus from my youth could be brought together, the song came flowing. A true testament to how common human emotion can bridge understandings of one another despite our different journeys.



I am lost, I am in distress
In deep turmoil, I began to dread
Losing hope, straying from the way
O Lord, it has been a very long day

We all are share the same needs and desires
Love, belonging, and a passionate fire
Food, and clothing, and a place to rest
We’re all looking for the same house


Sitting together in the Kitchen
Feeling so sad ‘cause someone’s missin’
When one of us hurts, we’re all in pain
We’re all crying in the same house


Love and acceptance are reigning down from the pulpit
Showering strangers, outsiders, and misfits
Some are welcome in the same house
Why aren’t some welcome in the same house?


Lyrics and Music By: Mary Neil and Len McCarthy
Performers: Mary Neil (vocals), Len McCarthy (acoustic guitar/keyboard), Glenn Marais (electric guitar/dobro), Manny DeGrandis (bass), Jeff Cowell (electric guitar/bass/percussion)
Co-Produced By: Mary Neil, Len McCarthy, Jeff Cowell

*Photo credit: Matt Collamer from

Take Me Home Liner Notes

Take Me Home took me back to interviews from my first masters degree when I was researching how migrant women used food to transition to a new country. The women I spoke with recounted incredible journeys of strength and perseverance as they uprooted their families to come to Canada for education, and “better opportunities”. We shared moments of joy, laughter, and sorrow.

One story that really stuck with me was when one woman, Helen, described her experience in her first job in Canada at a Tim Horton’s.

Here is the extended clip of the interview used on the I’m Who I Am album:

All the women were highly educated in their home countries and their education and professional credentials were not recognized in Canada. They all shared discrimination they faced in this country.

* Sourced from Abdel-Malek Neil, M. (2017). Affective migration: Using a visceral approach to access emotion and affect of Egyptian migrant women settling in the Region of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, Emotion, Space and Society, 25: 37-43,


I have come here alone
Left all that I’ve known
Seeking a better life
Despite hardship and strife
Reaching for the sky
Under watchful eyes


When will this be home x 4
You haven’t walked in my shoes
Don’t judge me, I won’t judge you
Are you so different from me?
Really different from me?

Value not recognized
Scrapping to get by
Called “fresh off the boat”
Insults challenge hope
Is it my skin or hair?
Or what I choose to wear?


What makes you think you are better than me? 
You choose to exclude based on what you can see 
Aren’t we all part of one human race?
Let’s get together with compassion and grace


Will you take me home? x4
You haven’t walked in my shoes
Don’t judge me, I won’t judge you
Are you so different from me?
Really different from me?

Lyrics By: Mary Abdel-Malek Neil
Music By: Mary Abdel-Malek Neil and Len McCarthy
Performers: Mary Abdel-Malek Neil (vocals), Len McCarthy (piano)
Co-Produced By: Jeff Cowell, Mary Abdel-Malek Neil

*Photo credit: Katie Moum from