Written by Brian McCollum
Young singers from the Detroit School of Arts are the stars of a music video from one of the signature figures in alternative rock.
David Byrne, the former Talking Heads front man and art-pop-world-music pioneer, tapped the Detroit students to perform "Everybody's Coming to My House," a song from his just-released album, "American Utopia."
Footage of their performance at the home of choir director Cheryl Valentine — shot in part by students Kandi Alexander and Malik Singleton — makes up the song's official video, released Tuesday evening as part of Byrne's Reasons to Be Cheerful series.
“When I saw what the (Detroit) students did with my song, it completely changed the way I thought of it," Byrne said in a statement. "In fact, it changed the meaning of the song — I realized it was about inclusion, welcoming, and not being alone. It’s a more generous interpretation of the song than what I do with my voice. We are all in the same house — if we want to be. Just goes to show how a song can change (radically!) depending on who is singing it.”
Byrne spoke further about the Detroit project late Tuesday on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show With Trevor Noah."
An accompanying clip released Tuesday by Byrne goes behind the scenes at the Detroit School of Arts in Midtown: Students in the vocal jazz program work through their initial apprehension about the song to turn in a lively performance directed by teacher Valentine, described by 12th-grade tenor Michael Brown as a mentor and "a mother."
Byrne's "American Utopia," his 11th solo album, was released Friday. He'll be joined by a 12-piece band for an upcoming tour — including an Aug. 10 stop at the Fox Theatre — in a show he describes as his "most ambitious" since the 1983 Talking Heads concerts filmed by Jonathan Demme for the much-acclaimed "Stop Making Sense."