In 2018, gay musician Parson James is definitely one of the artists we’re watching. Having broken out in 2016 with his debut EP, The Temple, he blew us away with his 2017 summer hit, “If You’re Hearing This” featuring Betty Who. In November, he also launched SugarCube, a unique event, featuring talented performances and other immersive experiences at New York hotel, Public.
So excited for the release of the hauntingly beautiful new @iamparsonjames video today for #onlyyou directed by @dano_o_ starring @alohakupono and myself available now on @youtube #parsonjames #neonmusic #kuponoaweau #danocerny #lgbt #transisbeautiful #papermagazine #transactress #choreography #musicvideo #girlslikeus #queerartistsunite
This week, he released the sensual video for his single, “Only You.” The beautiful breakup track explores the toxicity and codependency of a relationship the artist was in. His soulful vocals – influenced by his South Carolina upbringing in the gospel scene – are complimented by the visuals of the accompanying video.
“This song is so close to me, so it was important that visually it was represented in a way that felt exactly like the sentiment,” he said. “I was in a toxic relationship that I felt bound by. There was most definitely love and passion, but at a certain point, it became completely codependent and the comfort was the most toxic part of it. I came to Dano (Cerny, director) and told him I wanted to act as sort of a ghost in this situation that was dwindling and that the ultimate sentiment should be one of finding the strength to leave something so familiar, in order to find yourself or that piece of you that has been stunted in growth.”
— Dano Cerny (@DanoCerny) February 7, 2018
With Cerny’s eye and the intimacy of Lindsay Blafarb’s choreography, the video masterfully portrays James’ heartbreaking story. It was only completed by the beautiful performance of Kupono Aweau and Neon as the young couple. For James, it was important to cast Neon, a transfemme musician/actress/model.
“I was adamant about including a trans character because as a fierce advocate for the community, I often find it rare to see their stories portrayed in narratives that are as common, simple and familiar as this one,” he said. “I am humbled, moved, and so proud to be able to share this story visually in this way, with this cast.”
Watch Neon in Parson James’ “Only You” video below: