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In light of how the COVID-19 pandemic has shrouded the world with stay-home orders, it did not prevent 13 specially-abled world-class artists from nine countries who had come together to present a new take on the R&B classic, You Gotta Be, by Des’ree for the latest True Colors Festival music video.
Among the casts were Mandy Harvey, whose performance on America’s Got Talent earned Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer; Raul Midón, a blind Grammy-nominee singer-songwriter, and guitarist; Kenta Kambara, an accomplished wheelchair-bound aerial performer and dancer who performed at the Rio 2016 Paralympics closing ceremony; Signmark, the first deaf artist to be signed to a major record label; and Aliènette Coldfire, a blind singer who placed third in France’s Got Talent.
“Even though we have not met in person, you can feel that every person has put their heart into the entire process. And being a part of this team is another reinforcement to me that what’s within you is so much stronger than the barriers we face. This is a reminder to reach farther and dream bigger,” said past America’s Got Talent’s participant Mandy Harvey.
She added through this music video people are encouraged to go after what they want in life despite their circumstances.
The music video was directed and produced in Singapore by creative and music director Dr. Sydney Tan and video director Jasper Tan where the music video aimed to take viewers beyond the casts’ performances and into their various “day-in-the-life” moments.
“All of us, regardless of who and where we are, wake up and start our days and have the opportunity to listen and look up, to participate in choices and be fully human. We have the ability, whatever our circumstances and our geography, to experience and celebrate the ordinary yet wonderful moments that life unfolds,” Dr. Sydney Tan said.
He added that to produce the music video, it involved countless WhatsApp, Messenger, and Zoom calls while having to adapt to the time zone differences and using Google Translate in real-time to communicate across the different languages.
“The most important aspect of the process, though, was to develop a relationship with each artist, with such trust built, and freedom would allow them to perform and be themselves – with each person’s unique spirit and energy coming through in a real and palpable way,” added Dr. Tan.
Meanwhile, R&B singer and the original recording artist of You Gotta Be, Des’ree said the music video was very impactful.
“It is so invigorating and energizing, elevating the sentiment of the song and its message. The artists’ introductions at the end add even deeper resonance to their already inspiring performances,” she added.
Executive director of the Nippon Foundation (the presenter of True Colors Festival) Ichiro Kabasawa said. “People everywhere have been going through such a prolonged period of uncertainty, isolation, and fear. We chose this classic, You Gotta Be, for everyone, everywhere at this time, to realize the potential in ourselves; to choose to be bolder, stronger, wiser, whatever each day may bring. It’s a reminder that when it comes down to it, we’re all human, living together in our one world.”
That said, the True Colors’ You Gotta Be music video comes with options that make it widely accessible which include Closed Captions (for the deaf) and Audio Description (for the blind) as well as an accompanying video transcript (for the deaf and blind).
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