On Sunday October 27th, several EEDOnauts – including yours truly – converged upon the Oklahoma City Museum of Art for the privilege of seeing the video premiere of Adam & Kizzie’s “With You Forever” from their album “The Book of EEDO Vol. 1.” There are no words to sufficiently describe this masterful work of art that took the audience on a whirlwind emotional journey that was well worth the ride.
Adam & Kizzie were truly gracious hosts, generously opening the doors for this event absolutely free to the public and giving everyone the red carpet treatment. Before the premiere began, they both posed for pictures and embraced and chatted with their fans. They even gave the audience an opportunity to participate in “Adam & Kizzie Karaoke” before showing the video. Suddenly, despite having their CD on constant repeat, I found myself momentarily unable to recall any of the lyrics to their songs, and apparently the same malady simultaneously struck the majority of my fellow premiere attendees. Ultimately though, there were a few brave takers in the crowd. Despite a very noble impromptu attempt by both of the honorees’ beautiful mothers to recreate “Smile” as a duet on stage, the grand prize – including Adam & Kizzie memorabilia featuring their beautiful new logo – went to two adorable young sisters for their shy yet spirited rendition of “Train.” Throughout the evening, Adam & Kizzie repeatedly expressed their gratitude to those who helped bring this masterpiece to fruition, including their selfless and humble yet phenomenally gifted producer J. Lee Norman; stellar videographer Vince Carter (whom Adam dubbed a wizard because of his otherworldly masterful technical work despite – believe it or not – being colorblind); and a cast of talented actors and others behind the scenes who helped bring this remarkable vision to life.
Speaking of vision, Kizzie Ledbetter independently developed the concept for the video and actually directed it herself. If it weren’t for the fact that we also know her as such an amazing songstress, actress, designer and lyricist, one could easily watch Kizzie’s cinematic vision unfold and come alive on the screen and think she had missed her calling up until now. The video is a tapestry of three different stories woven together into one, with a common twist that unifies them as a part of the human experience to which everyone can easily relate. I also confess to being in suspense up until the very end regarding the outcome of each of the scenarios. What I will not confess to is having shed a tear, although I will drop dimes on everyone sitting near me, including … well, you know who you are. Seriously, I doubt there were many dry eyes in the auditorium. Well done Kizzie. You should be tremendously proud; we certainly are.
Adam Ledbetter shines in his dramatic turn in the video as well, portraying a husband with a tremendous burden to bear. Kizzie portrays his wife, but their characters’ relationship takes a surprisingly significant departure from what viewers might expect. The husband and wife dynamic duo clearly benefit from their real life chemistry, although they tell a story on screen that stretches them both to explore a depth that would be considered uncomfortable for most married couples to even imagine. Seasoned and talented stage actress Trena Brown – who is Kizzie’s real life mom – takes a star turn in the video as a woman suffering in her own right but surrounded by loving family members. Also showing their remarkable on-screen talents in the video were Denae Edwards, Erynne Hundley, Shaquilla Willis, Jemar Poteat, Madaya Eakins and young Anthony Gunn.
Premiere guests were also treated to behind the scenes footage in which Adam and Kizzie discuss the process of making the video as well as the evolution of the song, revealing, among other things, that it started out as a Christmas song but evolved due to the message having a year-round universal relevance not limited to a single season. The exclusive footage also revealed that perhaps Adam missed his calling as well – that of comedian. Videographer Carter of LimeLyte Studios (whom I still refuse to believe is colorblind due to the sheer aesthetic artistry of his work) treated the audience to an actual play-by-play lesson on the technology he used in editing the video, including the wizardry behind one particular scene that left viewers spellbound and amazed. The extra treats, including bloopers and deleted scenes, left the audience feeling like we were a part of the process.
After the premiere, Adam & Kizzie even treated their fans to a reception at Urban Roots in the historic Deep Deuce district. Urban Roots is also featured in a segment of the video. What a way to pay homage to Oklahoma City and its rich history, as well as shine the spotlight on a local business that is so vital to the arts community.
Though they acknowledge their roots, embrace their fans and exude humility, there is nothing “local” about the quality of Adam & Kizzie’s music or the artistry of this video masterpiece. To say that With You Forever is an amazing video would be an understatement; it’s almost an insult to the excellence to call it a video at all, and I don’t just say that because I’m an EEDO-head. I believe the true mark of a great music video is that is causes the viewer to hear the song differently afterwards. I can honestly say that after viewing this work of art, “With You Forever” has taken on a whole new meaning with much greater depth for me than it already had. Don’t take my word for it… watch it for yourselves below, and support Adam & Kizzie in the following ways:
LIKE their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/AdamKizzie
FOLLOW them on Twitter: @adamandkizzie
VISIT their website at http://www.adamandkizzie.com
And most importantly BUY their album, The Book of EEDO Vol. 1 (available on iTunes and Amazon)
One more thing…
EEDO! I love saying that.
Brian C. Scott