Paul "Jesus" Ro may be gone from The Walking Dead. But Tom Payne, the actor who portrayed him, is alive and well and singing in, appropriately enough, "Afterlife" -- the new single from his fiancée Jennifer Akerman, aka Final Child, whose special effects-laden video is premiering exclusively below.
"I wrote 'Afterlife" because I wanted a fun song -- I tend to make more moody and darker music," the Swedish-born Akerman -- who does not like zombies and doesn't watch The Walking Dead -- tells Billboard. "It still has a dark story; It's about the problems we have in the world and the world ending, but it has a lighter and a bit poppier tone. And it's ultimately about coming together with someone who you're looking forward to meeting in the afterlife. So it's about having connection and chemistry with someone on this planet and knowing you have this afterlife from the memories."
Payne, meanwhile, previously sang on the Final Child single "Hold On" last year and was a no-brainer to be part of "Afterlife," according to Akerman. "He's my other half," she notes. "I love working with him. He doesn't have the patience to be in the studio and write music but he's got a great voice -- and he's a show-off. I wrote his part and it was just like, 'Babe, come in here. Could you just sing this?' It's fun to have that. You have a partner and a connection with this someone, and you give your all for that person."
"Afterlife" is part of the EP Til Death Do Us (Part 1), out Sept. 13. a seven-track set that's Akerman's first solo venture after the end of her group Bloke & Bird. Akerman -- whose modeling career has included campaigns for The Gap, American Apparel, Forever 21 and more -- has recorded a full album's worth of songs but opted to divide the material into two EPs with the second due out during early 2020. "I didn't want to put out a full album right away," she explains. "I want to slowly build it -- put out some singles, then do an EP, then another EP. I'm not rushing it." She's also adapting to life as a solo artist and, in the case of Til Death Do Us, producer.
"It's a little scary," Akerman acknowledges. "I think it's the first time I'm really proud of a project. In the past, when you're in bands, you don't write music in the same way; You write because 'OK, we've got to write a pop song now. We've got to write a hit song.' With this, for the first time I dove in, mind and body. I learned so much. I pushed myself further than I never thought I could. I ended up spending hours at night, by myself, playing guitar and bass. It was fun and amazing, and now I'm just looking forward to where it will take me and all the new opportunities and really take it to the next level."