Len Seligman is an award-winning singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose goal is to raise your spirits and get you dancing. His latest release “Our Turn Now” is motivational and a statement on the current status of society calling us to step up. Read more to find out his inspiration!
Tell us the story of this song, why did you choose to visualize this song specifically in this way? What was the inspiration?
In January, I made a pilgrimage to landmarks of the civil rights struggle, including Selma and Montgomery, Alabama. I was moved to tears by the backstory of the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery march, including the murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson, and the near-martyrdom of John Lewis, who nearly died on the Edmund Pettis Bridge, while making a stand for voting rights for all. I could really feel the enormity of their bravery and sacrifice as I walked across the bridge where the events of “Bloody Sunday” took place. My takeaway: if they could act bravely in face of unimaginable oppression and violence, then certainly I can step up and do more to fight for the rights of all. This led to the recurring line in the song: “They showed us how. It’s our turn now.”
Visually, I knew right away that the Edmund Pettus Bridge had to be at the center of the video. I had taken several photos and videos of it, and used some of those. In addition, I wanted to include archival video footage of the events of Bloody Sunday and the Selma-to-Montgomery march. I am especially indebted to the powerful footage of the march filmed by Stefan Sharff.
What was the process of making this video?
First, we made the audio recording. My drummer (my brother Jon Seligman) and bass player (JP Coley) recorded their tracks at Burnt Orange Studio in Bradenton, Florida. I then recorded my vocal and guitar tracks. The wonderful Moksha Sommer from the band HuDost provided gorgeous backing vocals. Finally, it was all mixed by Chris Murphy in Virginia. Everything other than the rhythm section tracks (which were done pre-COVID), were done while maintaining physical distancing. Music making in the time of COVID!
The video was entirely filmed and produced by me. I filmed myself in front of a grey backdrop but also did a couple of scenes in front of a green screen, so I could insert myself in some contemporary marches and in some scenes in Selma, Alabama. I also did a bunch of research to locate still images and video clips of the historical events. To weave it all together using Cyberlink’s Power director software.
One thing that I felt powerfully during the filming was the presence of John Lewis. If at any point, it started to feel like I was acting, I would imagine myself being back on the bridge and remember his example. That would instantly return me to the emotion of the song and the vision of a kinder, more compassionate world.
Watch “Our Turn Now” below:
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