We all try to pay homage to the loved ones we lose in one form or another.
For songwriter Jerrika Mighelle, her tribute to her late mother came in the form of a heartfelt album, Brightest Star, which dropped this past February. It was the title track of the album in particular that really hit home, and is especially relevant for this coming weekend. (consider this your Mother’s Day reminder)
As if crafting an articulate and powerful track wasn’t enough to show your love and appreciation to the person who brought you into this world, Mighelle added to the tribute by producing an equally touching music video.
Directed by Sarah Elstran and filmed/edited by Erik Elstran, Mighelle’s somber video depicts the songwriter taking a contemplative stroll in a nostalgic atmosphere, singing from the heart into the camera with choreographed ice skaters in the backdrop.
When asked about the significance of the filming location, Mighelle told us, “When I was presented with the video concept and how it would be filmed on a skating rink, I immediately thought of Boyd Park in Eau Claire, as it was a place I skated as a kid and remember fondly how our mother would come once in a while with us, and how excited I was to share all my skating skills with her. She would share stories with us about how much she loved ice skating and missed it so much. Her body had posed limitations on her that kept her from doing it. So as she would watch us skate as kids, I feel she was living through us, in some way, reliving her childhood.”
Mighelle also added in regards to the overall vision behind the video, “Sarah was the one with the concept – with help from her husband Erik (fun fact: Erik is also a professional BMX biker!). I don’t have a visually creative brain, and I trusted Sarah and Erik completely. I would have done almost anything they asked. When I shared the finished product with my family, they cried. My sister Jesseca said ‘they nailed it 100%! How did they know?!’ I don’t know how they knew, but they just get music and how to express it visually so beautifully!”
The Americana and folk singer-songwriter has found songwriting to be vital in her mourning process. Musically, her inspiration comes from pioneers such as Patty Griffin and Tracy Chapman, which can be heard within Mighelle’s dynamic vocals and empowering image. Her songs maintain well-developed percussion, which likely can be attributed to her musical start on the West African hand drum or djembe, which we discussed in our in-depth interview with her back in February.
When asked about any Easter eggs or fun behind the scenes tidbits within the video, Mighele explained, “Erik’s grandma was one of the extras skating, and she was the best out of all of us! My sister, Elizabeth Steans, (who also sings harmonies on the song) was in the video with her two girls, as well as my girlfriend Maddi. The skating rink was packed more than normal that Sunday evening we shot it, but they all graciously moved around us as we filmed. It was a fun family event.”
And as far as the most challenging and most rewarding parts of the process, she had this to say: “Honestly, everything about the video process was seamless. The most difficult part of creating this song is the guitar riff and getting it right, keeping time with a band. It is such a ‘feel’ (my instinct is to ebb and flow with it in every moment I play it) so keeping time with a band can be tricky. Being able to share it and the feedback it has gotten has been the most rewarding. So many people have lost a loved one, a parent. One young woman told me her father had just passed away and that before he had passed, when her grandpa had died, her dad told her that ‘he is now the brightest star’ out there. Now, she sees her dad as the brightest star. The connections I have been able to make with folks from this song have been powerful!”