JoJo teamed up with Zelda Williams, daughter of the late Robin Williams for a music video, “Save My Soul,” a tribute to her own father, who lost his battle with addiction. The two reveal their long-time interest in tackling the painful struggle that is addiction, of all kinds, and speak about the making of the video.
The music video is going viral, and not for the typical reasons. It’s not the usual, superficially edgy music video that shocks or amuses or amazes. In ‘Save My Soul’ the 25-year-old singer and actress JoJo confronts and reveals a harsh reality. Sadly lost her father, Joel Levesque, to addiction; he passed away last November at age 60.
While the video is now billed a tribute, it didn’t start out that way, as JoJo reveals in an Instagram post. She said that she and Zelda Williams “filmed this video about a month before my father lost his decades long battle with addiction.”
She went on to say, “His death honestly felt like it came out of nowhere… and yet I had been mourning him for years… if that makes any sense.” She elaborates, and says, “I know all too well from seeing it around me that the fight is not easy. It’s every day. All consuming. I’m not mad at my dad. I love him and I’m sad. He is my greatest heartbreak.”
As for collaborating with Zelda Williams, whose father Robin Williams also battled addiction for many years, she said, “Because of the content of the song and the way it touched us both, ‘Save My Soul’ felt like the natural place for us to finally collaborate.”
She went on to speak of her artistic vision and what she hoped to accomplish, saying, in part that she “wanted to convey the feeling of powerlessness I’ve felt in my life in an uncomplicated way and show a range of what it might look like for others who’ve been there.” You can see the Instagram message in its entirety below.
For her part, Zelda Williams, who made her directorial debut with the music video said, in a post on Tumblr, “ ‘Save My Soul’ is Jo’s very real, very honest ode to addiction, and in her exposing her truth, I wanted to give others the opportunity to do the same.”
Yes, it’s causing quite a stir. It’s stark, raw and emotionally powerful. We’ve seen many a music video that’s a cinematic narrative. Such is the case with ‘Save My Soul,’ but the story is a real story. The lyrics themselves take on new meaning as they speak of the persistence of a memory “you’re etched in me like stone.” Knowing the circumstances, as we do, adds to the power of the message.
You can see JoJo’s ‘Save My Soul’ music video, directed by Zelda Williams, below.
“Save My Soul” is about addiction. Of all kinds. I wanted to convey the feeling of powerlessness I've felt in my life in an uncomplicated way and show a range of what it might look like for others who've been there. Working with one of my best friends, Zelda Williams (director of SMS), was a highlight of my 2015. We'd been talking about working together for like 10 years! Because of the content of the song and the way it touched us both, “Save My Soul” felt like the natural place for us to finally collaborate. A group of us young, crazy, creatives drove out to the magical desert of Joshua Tree and got naked – most of us emotionally, and a few literally. It was a safe space to be vulnerable and free from judgment and the need to be/ look/ act "perfect". Everyone who participated connected to the song and brought their truth to the table. We filmed this video about a month before my father lost his decades long battle with addiction. His death honestly felt like it came out of nowhere…and yet I had been mourning him for years…if that makes any sense. I know all too well from seeing it around me that the fight is not easy. It's every day. All consuming. I'm not mad at my dad. I love him and I'm sad. He is my greatest heartbreak. This song, which had always been personal to me, takes on even deeper meaning now. "I try to run but it hurts every time I try… Lord I try and I can't say no." Makes me think of the universal struggle of seeking victory over the feeling of powerlessness to a situation, a lover, a drug. Losing my father at the end of last year and knowing the propensity for addiction of all kinds that runs deep in my blood from both sides makes it next-level important for me to LIVE – not just be alive, but THRIVE in his honor. I can do this. And so can you. If you're struggling, believe the only way OUT is THROUGH. Keep going. Love, Jo. P.S. Thank you to the beautiful crazies who dedicated their time and energy to come together and make this video possible. It wouldn't have happened without you.
Pictures: PR Photos