CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - An up and coming hip hop artist from Dayton is turning the tragedy of this summer’s mass shooting there, into an inspiration song.
When the gunman opened fire in Dayton's Oregon District in August, he rocked the city and changed the lives of countless members of the community, including 25 year old Jevin Lamar.
On the day of the shooting, Lamar was a world a way from the city where he grew up, at a wedding in Switzerland, when he heard the news.
“I just was shocked. I called everyone I knew. Called my sister, she said T.J. gone,” he said.
His 25 year old cousin Tee Jay McNichols, a married father of four, was among the victims.
"Stuff like this is becoming normalized it seems like," he said.
To cope, Lamar's first instinct was to write.
"That's the only way I know how to deal with any emotion is through my music," Lamar said.
He says the first versions were too angry.
"All these negative lyrics were coming out and I had to flip that around and turn it into a positive message," said Lamar.
Lamar made a couple of songs about it, but Still Holding On was the one that stuck.
“It was the one that I felt like would make my family feel better and it’s the best way that I could honor my cousin,” he said.
Lamar says his family loves this song and he’s been overwhelmed with the response on social media about it.
“I feel like this song is touching people in a different way than my other music ever did, or ever could. It’s relatable and it’s from a real place of hurt and a real place of wanting change,” he said.
Jevin Lamar is donating the proceeds from downloads of Still Holding On to Daybreak Dayton, the emergency shelter where he sought help when he was a teenager.