Detroit Youth Choir, Yessian, IndigoYaj Capture "Glory" In Music Video Supportive Of Black Lives Matter

By

Robert Goldrich
Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020

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The Detroit Youth Choir (DYC) has recorded a new version of the Academy Award-winning song “Glory” from the Ava DuVernay-directed film Selma. The recording represents an effort to support the Black Lives Matter Movement.

The song “Glory” (written by John Legend, Common and Rhymefest for Selma) serves as a powerful anthem and has been updated for its time with new rap lyrics created by former DYC member and rapper IndigoYaj (aka Jayla Smalls). A special edition of the track has been released featuring upcoming rapper Kid Jay (aka Jason O’Banner Jr), providing a platform for others to put their own voice behind both the song and the sentiment it conveys.  DYC also hopes to collaborate with other rappers so they too can bring their voice of positivity and unity to the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Experiential ad agency/production house Imagination brought together an all-star Detroit-based creative team, including Grammy award-winning mixer and producer Gerard Smerek and Scotty Gatteno from Yessian Music to develop the arrangement with DYC’s White and music director Donnell Mosley. 

The new version of the song was recorded on June 26, 2020 in The New Mt. Vernon Missionary Baptist Church in Ferndale and music and sound house Yessian’s recording studios in Farmington Hills, Mich.. The recording features over 40 DYC members, who undertook daily health screenings, practiced social distancing during rehearsals and recording, and wore masks when not filming/performing.

Directed by Everett Stewart and produced by Imagination, this music video that accompanies the song is just as emotional as the lyrics and features iconic Detroit landmarks, including the Persian School, Michigan Central Station, Monument to Joe Louis (the fist), Power to the People Mural, St. Matthew’s & St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church, Detroit Barber Co. in Corktown and the Spirit of Detroit monument. 

The idea to record a DYC version of ‘Glory’ was first conceived and made possible by Imagination which has maintained a partnership with DYC since 2019. Alistair Wilson, managing director of Imagination Detroit, said he was inspired with the idea after seeing his old school friend David Oyelowo, who played Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma share his own personal experience with racism on social media. “My team and I were moved to act by something David said: ‘Black people didn’t create this situation we find ourselves in, therefore, it can’t be on us to change it. It’s going to be down to all of us.’”

Oyelowo shared, “This rendition of ‘Glory’ by DYC moves me to my core. As it did in our film Selma, this version captures our historical and daily cry for justice and equality as Black people in America.”

Credits

Client Detroit Youth Choir’s “Glory” music video Agency Imagination Detroit Alistair Wilson, agency lead; Stefania Walkowiak, Ashley Carey, executive producers; Rob Cousineau, producer. Production Imagination Detroit Everett Stewart, director; Corey Gipperich, DP. Postproduction Imagination Detroit Nick Sullivan, editor; Davis Nixon, colorist; Zack Jacobs, VFX. Music “Glory” (song from the motion picture Selma), written by John Legend and Common.  Detroit Youth Choir Anthony White, Donnell Mosley, vocal arrangement, additional lyrics; IndigoYa, rap lyrics. Yessian Music, Detroit (music recording, producing, arranging, mixing) Brian Yessian, partner/chief creative officer; Gerard Smerek, song producer/exec producer, mixer, recordist, engineer; Scott Gatteno, Pro Tools recording engineer, vocal editing, technical engineer; Mark Chu, music arrangement & adaptation, track production and all programming; Michael Yessian, partner/head of production.  Sterling Sound, Edgewater, NJ Chris Gehringer, mastering. Audio Post Yessian Detroit Gerard Smerek, mixer.

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