A scene from Wil Key's new video, “Got So Far to Go."Wil Key
Wil Key, a Los Angeles-based producer who studied music in Denver and Boulder, wrote the song "Got So Far to Go" in the wake of the shooting of Trayvon Martin. It appeared on his 2018 album Globetrotter: Side A, a compilation of songs he recorded with musicians from eleven countries.
After the death of George Floyd and the rise of Black Lives Matter protests, Key set out to make a black-and-white music video for the song. He shot the video in downtown Los Angeles and Long Beach. The video’s run time is exactly 8:46, the amount of time that Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck.
The song spotlights major concerns of the Black Lives Matter movement, including the rampant injustice and systemic racism inflicted on black people in the United States.
“With the video, what we're hoping to do is reach people's hearts,” Key says. “We really believe in the power of music. We believe in being able to reach people in a different way than they can be reached. We really want to raise awareness for the issue and to try to stand for making change and actually for the musicians and the artists to be the impetus for that change.
“We want to have a voice from the musicians," he continues. "This is coming from artists. This is coming from professional singers, professional musicians. Just to be a voice for change is what we're hoping to provide in this video.”
Key, who sings and plays guitar and keyboard on the song, recruited others for vocals. The track includes L. Young, one of Stevie Wonder’s regular singers; Skyler Jordan, a background singer for Ice Cube; former Motown recording artist Angela Coleman; Laura "La-La" Key, Key's wife; and Maritri Garrett. The musicians on the cut include bassist Cecil Thomas Jr., Diana Ross’s musical director; guitarist Yohei Nakamura, who works with Brian McKnight; and Reggie Johnson, drummer for Babyface.
While Key hopes some change might come from the video, he's also inspired by people of all races already active in the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I've seen a real outpouring from white people, Hispanic people to let us know that they are concerned,” Key says. “It's been a sustained change that I've seen daily, where people acknowledge there is an issue, that this was more than just a one-time sort of thing. And I'd like to see that continue."
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