Writer & Director: Miles Jay
Production: Smuggler & OPC
Executive Producer: Patrick Milling Smith, Brian Carmody, Harland Weiss, Allison Kunzman,
Donovan Boden, Geoff McLean
Producer: Dennis Beier
Video Commissioner: Saul Levitz
Cast: Leon Bridges, Brittni Jessie, Maiya Mcknight, Grenard Barr, Jaylin J.J. Barr, Darien Whitaker, Jayme Delly
Cinematographer: Chayse Irvin
Production Design: Jade Healy & Erika Lobko
Wardrobe: Emma Potter
Editor: Ben Jordan – Work Editorial
Color: Tom Poole – Company 3
VFX: Steve Mottershead – Artjail
Sound Design: Stefano Campello – Heard City
Leon Bridges has released the official music video for “River” — one of the standout tracks from his fantastic 2015 debut LP, Coming Home. Watch above on YouTube.
There’s no doubt that this is a powerful music video. The 2010s have been a tumultuous time for race relations, and this video captures that in a way that matches the music beautifully. It’s calm and peaceful, but you can feel the emotional intensity underneath. The audio track is slightly different from the album version of the song. It feels like we’re right there with all the characters in their real lives, from a motel room with Bridges and vocalist Brittni Jessie to the Baltimore protests of 2015.
On Instagram, Bridges shared his inspiration for the song and video:
A river has historically been used in gospel music as symbolism for change and redemption. My goal was to write a song about my personal spiritual experience. It was written during a time of real depression in my life, and I recall sitting in my garage trying to write a song which reflected this struggle. I felt stuck working multiple jobs to support myself and my mother. I had little hope and couldn’t see a road out of my reality. The only thing I could cling to in the midst of all that was my faith in God and my only path towards baptism was by way of the river.
When thinking about how to best visually represent this universal battle, I reflected on the depiction of black communities in our media and particular experiences within my own life. This video showcases the unique struggle many black men and women face across this country. However, unlike the captured images which tend to represent only part of the story, I wanted to showcase that through all the injustice, there’s real hope in the world.
I want this video to be a message of light. I believe it has the power to change and heal those that are hurting.
Get Leon Bridges’ latest music, news, and tour dates on his Zumic artist page.