By MAGGIE MENDERSKI
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
Cheeks McGee used unconventional leopard-print curtains and lime-green walls to illustrate the universal theme of heartbreak.
His new music video, "Leopard Curtains Lime Green Wall," ties it all together.
McGee, a singer and songwriter whose real name is Ryan Christian, launched his first music video this week.
The video combines his acoustic guitar-based music with the visuals from local film artists Chris and Victoria Kelley of Table 16 Productions. The Kelleys used Quincy as the backdrop for the project, weaving scenes from downtown Quincy, Woodland Cemetery and a local house with lime-green walls and leopard curtains that inspired McGee's song.
"They had a great vision," McGee said. "I always love the option to do something here in Quincy."
The project proved a first for McGee and the Kelleys. The husband-and-wife duo typically focus on independent films, but Victoria Kelley said adding a music video to their portfolio crossed one more thing off their artistic bucket list and allowed for a deeper level of collaboration.
"It was nice to work on a story that we totally didn't come to on our own," Chris Kelley said. "Cheeks came up with the story; we just visualized it for him."
The video's song focuses on the idea of moving on after a relationship. McGee grabbed on to the unusually colored walls of his ex-girlfriend's apartment when composing the piece and used that to express what it felt like to come home heartbroken.
"This song has a nice story behind it, but it also has that catchiness," Victoria Kelley said.
Chris Kelley said he didn't take McGee's lyrics word for word, but he allowed them to shape the visuals. Even the weather seemed to agree with the deep, emotional lyrics. Rain spotted the clips from the first day of filming. The second day, the sun was shining, illustrating the happier concepts of closure and moving on.
"We just let the music and the lyrics tell us what to do," Chris Kelley said. "I didn't want to go with a literal approach to the song, but parts of it just screamed at me like this is what we have to do."
The video can be viewed on YouTube, iTunes and cheeksmcgee.com. The Kelleys also plan to submit it at in music video categories at independent film festivals.
"We're just going to push it and see what happens," McGee said.