Stephen Wilson Jr. is looking back on his life in an evocative new video, “Year to Be Young 1994.” Anyone who also grew up in this era will likely identify with his life’s soundtrack of Boyz II Men, Nirvana, and Tom Petty.
Growing up in Indiana, Wilson started boxing at age 7, a sport he pursued into adulthood. He moved to the Nashville area to earn a degree microbiology, then spent five years writing, playing guitar, and touring with indie rock band AutoVaughn. After returning for a time to the science field, Wilson finally made the switch to songwriting after signing a publishing deal in 2016.
Take a look at “Year to Be Young 1994,” then read our Q&A below the player.
What do you remember most about the shoot for this video?
We shot on two separate days. One day was for the band and myself for performance footage and the other day was shooting the extras. I remember it was entertaining to put the set aesthetic together for the performance shoot and watching the camera angles and lighting choreography work together. On the other day of shooting, it was exciting working with the extras and witnessing their youthful and effortless chemistry respond to direction.
How does the video bring your song to life?
It illustrates a biographical aspect of my life with a collage of home video VHS footage mixed with vintage and high-definition performance footage that has a nostalgic effect on the viewer and helps support the lyrical content and story of the song. The song is a modern and vintage sonic combination and this video manages to marry those two themes together in a heartwarming and artistic fashion.
What message do you hope your fans take away from the video?
I want them to see a vivid and nostalgic portrayal of what made me as a musician/songwriter and person I am today with the combination of VHS home videos, amateur boxing footage, and the unique but familiar small-town, working-class environment I came from.
How did it feel to see the finished product for the first time?
It was emotional seeing my father and friends that I’ve lost in the VHS footage, living as if they were still alive. At the same time also exciting to see the collage of all these timelines past and current working together so well to support a song that was ultimately a product of those experiences and feelings.
Writers: Stephen Wilson Jr. and Benjamin West; Director: Tim Cofield