A few months ago Eric Welles-Nyström, who I met through his work on William Onyeabor, came to me with an idea—what if we invited students and aspiring artists, filmmakers, choirs, animators, directors and actors in sometimes overlooked and underestimated cities and communities to create videos based around the songs on my new record. Besides having the potenial of being really cool and inventive interpretations, this project might give the creativity tucked away in so many corners a chance to be seen and heard. Eric wanted to find people who personally embody the positivity I’ve been sharing in my Reasons to be Cheerful project—or who are actual representations of an American Utopia.
I loved the idea and immediately said, “Let’s do it!”
The first one is done and it is amazing. This interpretation of “Everybody’s Coming To My House” is transformative. To my eyes and ears it completely changes the meaning, heart and soul of the song. It is more welcoming and becomes more about inclusion and joy. We ARE all in the same house—if we want to be. I’m jealous, in some ways it’s better than my own version.
Big thanks to all who were involved in the creation of this video.
WATCH AMERICAN UTOPIA: DETROIT!
Performed by The Detroit School of Arts Vocal Jazz Ensemble: Nicole Baker, Michael Brown, Artoria Clayton, Eddie Gardner III, Mariah Gossett, Joseph Greene, Ivon Harris, Alaina Hicks, Ernest Howard II, Katerina Johnson, Ca’Mar Leonard, Justin J. Malone-Horton, Emmett Nelson, Arreyon S. Pettis, Ontrice Ramsey II, Destiny Sanders, Renita Smith, Kamia Wardlaw, Alaska A. Wilson, Kamaree Williams
Cheryl Valentine, Choir Director
Created by Eric Welles-Nyström
Produced by David Byrne
Written & Produced by Lindsey Suzanne Smith & Eric Welles-Nyström
Cy Abdelnour, Director of Photography
Camera: Kandi Alexander, Kashira Dowridge, Trey Sarmento
Jaron Halmy, Editor
Associate Producer: Beverly Morrison-Green, Devin A. Patterson, Kandi Alexander, Malik Singleton, Sultan Sharrief, Steph Smith
Mark Broe, Production Sound Mixer
Colin Alexander, Post Production Sound Mixer
Hayden Waggener, Assistant Editor
Titles by Lost Art