LargeUp Premiere: Watch Jonathan Emile’s Moving, Poignant “Moses” Video ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ฒ

December 6, 2019

Words by Jesse Serwer

Jonathan Emile's "Moses" video title screen.

Jonathan Emile is a longtime resident of Montreal, Canada, but his heart lies in Jamaica, where he grew up in idyllic Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland. The video forย  โ€œMoses,โ€ the second single from his sophomore album Spaces In Between, sees the singer, songwriter, actor and cancer survivor return to his roots for some stunning visuals to accompany the trackโ€™s poignant blend of folk and gospel.

โ€œโ€˜Mosesโ€™ is a song about faith as much as it is about redemption,โ€ Emile says of the track, which follows the release of the albumโ€™s first single, โ€œSavanna,โ€ last month. โ€œI honestly canโ€™t even remember composing the song. I was playing acoustic guitar and it poured out of me at an emotional time when I was trying to organize thoughts. The song took on a new dimension after my uncle passed away in Jamaica. He was a Rasta, he gave back to the youth of the community, lead a peaceful life, but he was ultimately a victim of senseless violence. His passing had a deep impact on my family.โ€

โ€œMosesโ€ is built on a simple chord structure written as a folk gospel, country-influenced hymn. โ€œCountry and gospel both have a great presence in Jamaican music and culture. Many Jamaicans who grew up in the โ€™50s and โ€˜60s know every hymn and every country song, so exploring the decades of reggae music on Spaces In Between, I wanted to touch on this important connection.โ€

While the song is weighty enough in its own right, the intimate, naturalistic visuals of Jamaican youth in their element add further heft to the โ€œMosesโ€ video. โ€œFor the album, I want every video to reveal a different side of Jamaica,โ€ Emile says. โ€œShooting this video was sobering and a learning experience. We flew director Jonathan Tremblay and director of photography Martin Bouchard to Jamaica with only a rough treatment of what we wanted the video to look like. The whole crew spent time listening and discussing the song. The concept evolved into a moving portrait of youth in Jamaica โ€” they will be the leaders and yet they still need to be led. Ultimately, the video and song are less about the past and more about the future. I see Jamaica as an example of human perseverance, pride and promise despite all of the poverty in the wake of persecution.โ€

Watch the video exclusively here. โ€œMosesโ€ is out now on all streaming services.