There are times when it’s quite obvious that the process of creating art is nothing less than serendipity; when all of the pieces fall into place as if playing a perfect game of chess. Not to infer that art is easy, but when it’s real, the only result possible is synergy. These days, the word “gospel” doesn’t have to mean a moratorium on style or mass appeal.
A brief travel back in time; in the fall of 2008 Pierre Walters, Senior Director of Blue Artist Films and Amos Saint Jean form the perfect team. Their mission; to create a music video that exemplify Amos’ single, Tell the World, “I wanted it to be timeless,” says Pierre, “I felt immediately that if we were going to work together, the fruit of the effort needs to be worthy of Amos’ music. I wanted synergy.” Of Amos, Pierre says, “He’s not a normal Black gospel artist. [Blue Artists] raised the bar pretty high for ourselves; God played an integral part in this.”
The lyrics and message of Amos Saint Jean’s music is a stark contrast to a world of music that’s been stained with money driven, one-hit making, cookie cutter, club banging and mundane music for the masses that unfortunately, doesn’t feed the soul. An iconic songstress once said “Music is supposed to inspire,” which does in fact, vehemently beg the question, “so how come we ain’t getting’ no higher?”
Amos Saint Jean has been out of the spotlight, making music on other’s behalves for a number of years and is now finally pursuing a musical career with his own name stamped on it, “I’ve been in the background making music for other artists for a long time,” says Amos “Now I feel it is my turn to make my own music.”
It’s 8am on an unbearably frigid November morning in Baltimore. Actors and crew gather at a small grocery store that will double as a set for the Tell the World music video shoot. Sleep eludes the tired thespians as they let out soft yawns and sip on freshly brewed coffee. Director, Pierre Walters peers through an imaginary camera lens, fashioned out the forefingers and thumbs of both hands. He then walks the perimeter of the cash register and bagging console, places the actors in their starting positions and silently motions to his second-in-command, Myles. Myles Franklin, line producer, right hand man and assistant all wrapped up into one stands pursed-lipped and motionless, keeping his eyes fixed on Pierre as he makes his way around the set and making it very obvious not to ask any questions, but to do exactly as he says. As if connected telepathically, Myles orders, “Quiet on the set!” Prompting Pierre to commence the shoot with a, “Lights, camera … and ACTION!” Those universally known words trigger something and the actors snap out of their sleepy haze as hot lights pierce through the tired silence, boom mic is positioned and the unforgiving lens of the camera watching the actors’ every move can be felt.
Courtesy: Colville Heskey
Pierre’s streamlined focus and visible passion bled into the atmosphere of that cold grocery store, permeating the air and making inspiration palpable. This feeling still translated three hours later to an exterior Baltimore location in 30 degree weather. The actors and crew were hungry and tired, but they knew they were involved in something phenomenal without having heard the song, “Tell the world, tell the nation, that only what you do for Christ will last.”
A closer look into the lyrics will reveal a deeper meaning than a love of God. What the song is really about is charity unto others, “It’s amazing how a simple concept can bring a message across, says Pierre, “Regardless of my circumstance, I can listen to the message. It’s prolific.”
According to Amos, the music video allowed him to put forth the message in his song without having to deal with the bureaucracy of releasing a single in today’s music industry, i.e. having to follow the rules, “I’ve experienced other artists attempting to bring their message across and failing,” says Amos “People listen better by seeing, so I decided to do this backwards.” He decided to release a music video first before releasing the single, “I felt that a video would cut through the red tape, grab the listener.” “And it’s timeless!” Pierre interjects,” he continues, “Timeless things never have boundaries. It’s not going to die after three months. This is aging well.”
Courtesy: Colville Heskey
Pierre’s crystal clear vision and Amos’ huge presence and humble nature were the perfect yin and yang and their vision materialized seamlessly after Pierre ventured to Radio Shak, “I was looking for a pair of wireless headphones and the idea hit me. I thought, ‘if you’re going to tell the world, the world has to listen.’” Pierre explains, “I knew I had to make a video about listening if the world is going to listen.”
Presumptuously, one might assume it easy as pie to create a music video around such a powerful song with an indelible message. But for Director, Pierre Walters of Blue Artists Films had the fortunate dilemma of building a story this song and make it as equally brilliant, “I’m an artist as well and I felt immediately that if we were going to work together, the fruit of the effort needed to be worthy of [Amos’] music,” says Pierre, “I didn’t have to find anything within the song, it already had so much in it,” says Pierre “Amos’ mastership over his craft and his music is so affective. I jumped in and let the creative energy take over.”
The video has since been in circulation on CMT and BET and has gotten the nod for Director of the Year for the 2010 BET Awards. The Los Angeles based production firm has roots in the Washington, DC Metro area, Blue Artists is also systematically making their mark in The Golden State while still pursuing projects on the East Coast, as well as other parts of the US and South Africa.
For Amos’ this experience has put him in a very unique space, “I’m no longer a musician, I’m an artist.” For Pierre, it has only reinforced his vigor, “We claw on the ground and fight to make every inch of this a success; it’s a fight,” he says, “Push yourself so that you do what you need to do.” For Pierre, Amos and Myles it’s on to the next project in the name of art and something worth fighting for.
For more info: visit www.blueartistsfilms.com, www.myspace.com/famousamosmusic and YouTube to view the Tell the World video