Not content with conquering the Wasatch Front, James the Mormon has teamed up with Chicago native (and brother of Chance the Rapper) Taylor Bennett to produce a video for his new single, “Holiday.” The song represents James’ first collaboration with a nationally known rapper. Behold the video below.
Pretty good, eh? According to the artist, “Holiday” is “meant to share the message that material things will never bring you happiness. The real ‘Holiday’ comes from spending time with those you love and focusing on them.” James the Mormon is well known in Mormon circles for infusing his music with positive messaging. (And we love the guy for it. When we had him on our podcast we tried to be our usual jokey, smarmy selves and then realized James was super sincere about his work, once again revealing how much we suffer from Foot in Mouth Disease.) In an increasingly cynical age, positive music of any beat or style is welcome.
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The video, shot by Cameron Gade across downtown Chicago, represents a foray into that idea of eschewing materialism in favor of something more, something outwardly positive. Gade explains the story represented by the young woman taking photos of others across Chicago:
When my grandma was sick, I would go visit her as often as I could. She was confined to a hospital bed in her home. She wasn’t completely coherent, but my family and I always felt like she appreciated the visits. While meeting with my interns, it was suggested that the video show someone doing a random act of kindness. The story evolved into what it is now. A granddaughter who misses spending time with her grandfather, so she takes photos during her day to share with him in the evenings. While she is out, she finds people to lift their spirits and offers a free photo. She then writes a compliment on the photo before giving it to them. For me, the heart of the story lies with the grandfather.
We all have family and friends who are important to us. This video and song are about focusing on what is truly important in life – relationships and human connection. The woman in the video represents an ideal focus. She centers her thoughts and actions on what will help others and strengthen her most important bonds. So rather than be a slave to the credit cards and material possessions that weigh us down, she finds satisfaction and fulfillment outside of herself.
We can get behind that message. Also, not texting during Sunday school. There’s a message in that. James, if you’re reading this, we want the anti-smart-phone-at-church ballad after this one.
You can download the single across most major platforms today.