Sometimes, you show up late to the party. And even though you know you've missed out on quite a bit of fun between kick off and when you arrived, you're still happy to have finally shown up.
Roy Blair is that party.
Man, have I been missing out on something special. But I'm so grateful to have found my way to the dance. As the old cliche goes, better late than never - and I'm not sure there could have been a better way to become acquainted with this artist than "Happy".
If I were commenting on YouTube, I'd say something like, "Natalie Green brought me here." A longtime fan of everything Green touches, I somehow missed out on the signs leading me to Blair. Fortunately, the stars would align and some pre-release tweets in regards to "Happy" found their way to my timeline. And so I became intrigued, which lead me down the rabbit hole of research - I watched some older videos, listened to Cat Heaven, browsed some interviews and features...
I suddenly found myself seriously anticipating a release from an artist I had never heard of previously.
This all took place midday on Monday - the same day "Happy" had been rescheduled for. When technical issues delayed the drop that evening, my anticipation grew and I began to worry that perhaps I was creating internal hype the video would be unable to live up to.
Then the video was released. And it exceeded any expectations I may have prematurely put in place.
The Christian Lanza-directed "Happy" is a cinematic experience - the people involved in this have created a movie, far beyond a simple music video. Clocking in at just shy of five minutes, the visual does such a wonderful job capturing the essence of the musical content, both lyrically and production-wise. Viewers are presented with a short story, told through the appearance of three main characters - Blair, Enya Umanzor and Blake Benner. Thanks to perfectly timed cut scenes, transitions, and a pristinely executed story board, "Happy" stands out as arguably the most captivating complete visual experience I've encountered in 2018.
Beyond the delightful aesthetic on display throughout "Happy", Blair's latest release is enchanting due to it's ability to tell such a detailed story while still leaving so much up for interpretation. If you sat ten people down to watch the video, I'm confident you would not receive any sort of unanimous decision on what the song or video actually represents. That is, "Happy" tells a story on the surface - both visually and sonically - but leaves enough of a layered presentation that the takeaway "significance" is endlessly up to one's perception. Because of this, the short film becomes as much a unique experience based on the viewer as it is a personal dialogue from Blair.
Originally finding life on Blair's 2017 debut, the 13-track Cat Heaven, "Happy" features musical assists from Natalie Green, Zach Fogarty, Jack Loken and Finn Orrell. The song itself should be enough to get the listener hooked on Blair's talent, thanks in no small part to his soothing vocal range. Composed in a way that allows the young artist's voice to find the freedom it needs to truly strike a chord in the depth of the listener's soul, "Happy" is simultaneously upbeat and somberly reflective.
Blair undoubtedly has a keen sense of growing up with a precarious sense of the world, the dark cloud of unanswered questions looming overhead. As a result, "Happy" specifically and Roy's catalogue in general offer guidance to the youthful angst and uncertainty that permeate the live's of so many young people today. Reflective, a little unsure while still uplifting, "Happy" may not offer the answers so many seek but the relatability of Blair's music and energy provide a light in the dark to those seeking their own path through the highs and lows of life.
As the credits roll, we are blessed with an unreleased record from Blair entitled "BEENHEREBEFORE", which features production from Fogarty. Prayer hands up in hopes Blair decides to liberate this one from the vault.
Do yourself a favor and press play below.