Video Voyageur: 3Qs with Shaun Johnson + The Big Band Experience

The Shaun Johnson Big Band Experience is a rare newcomer to traditional pop…fusing a big band spirit with an inventive edge…at once more risky than Buble, more modern than Sinatra. Shaun, an Emmy award-winning crooner (and lead singer of the internationally known vocal group, Tonic Sol-fa) indelibly stamps vocal jazz and swing with a contemporary punch – to the delight of both traditionalists and newcomers – emerging as an original voice in the continuing tradition of the American singer. The new single and video for “All Because of You” is a heartfelt and timeless tale that Johnson brings to life effortlessly. We had the pleasure of catching up with Shaun as he dives into his latest work and video.

  1. Tell us the story of this song, why did you choose to visualize this song specifically in this way? 

    When I was writing for the new album, I realized, quite accidentally, that every song had a common theme.  Each tune spoke to or was inspired by an influential woman in my life.  And “All Because of You” happened to be a love song for my wife, Mary.  I’d actually tried to write many love songs over the past few years but could never quite get the words to work.  Either the feeling was lessened by word choice or the overall lyric turned to cheese.  I suppose it’s ironic that the love song I finally felt ready to release to the world happened to be a song about writing a love song.  My wife cried when she heard the demo, and I think that made the work worthwhile.
  2. What was the inspiration behind this video (visuals, storyline, etc.)? 

    My wife (Mary) works side by side with me on most creatives  – from pictures to posters to billboards and more.  Her creativity is constantly on “play,” and she typically has million dollar ideas that we must create on a shoestring budget as a small business. We’d envisioned sweeping shots of castles in Scotland, famous special guests, or couples who’d been together for 50 years+.  But since Mary is usually behind the camera, and since this song was written for her, I convinced Mary to step in front of the camera for a rare appearance.  Our story and the storyline of this video needed to start with this simple request.  It is my hope that I’ll still be treasuring this snapshot in time on my last day. And in the meantime, I’d like to think that the raw emotion of “All Because of You” and the pared down, linear video will speak directly to counterparts, partners, and true companions the world over.
  3. What was the process of making this video? 

    We were in Nashville when this video was shot and asked our friend, Erick Anderson (a well known photographer), to shoot family pictures.  Mary and I had been brainstorming a very simple video concept that might serve the lyrics of “All Because of You” and ended up asking Erick if he ever shot video.  Though it was not his chosen medium, he agreed to give it a try.  Mary was drafted – somewhat unwillingly – to appear in the video, and we only did a few takes.  To be honest, it was unexpectedly emotional for all of us. The black and white feel of the video  – though draped in technicolor – ended up fitting perfectly with a simple love song and its surprisingly complex message.


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