Taylor McFerrin deals with separation from a partner in the new video for his latest single “Love and Distance,” premiering exclusively on Billboard today (Sept. 13).
“Love and Distance” chronicles McFerrin’s struggle with a self-described “particular energy” that ensues when he prepares to leave for tour, emphasizing the lonely nature of the road while trying to stay in a committed relationship. The visual opens with candid, documentary style shots that track a shadowy silhouette of McFerrin climbing the steps of concert venues and taking it all in under blue lights and shimmery bokeh lights.
He addresses the camera directly, or rather his lover, as he pensively sings, "Now that it's summer, think of all the days that we'll be alone/ Now that I'm leaving, I need you to know that it's all for us."
“You both know the tour is happening for months in advance but it always feels like it comes out of the blue, and the energy in the relationship changes,” McFerrin tells Billboard. “You want to make the most out of those last few days, and not let anything mess up the vibe, because then it just lingers until you get home. So the song is me singing to [my wife] that we should just love each other in this moment as much as possible.”
Director Simon Benjamin reflects the solitude of the experience by following McFerrin alone in the visual with only the presence of the camera and the thought of his wife surrounding him. “Love and Distance” is featured on McFerrin’s latest album, Love's Last Chance, released in August, which meets at the intersection of R&B, progressive jazz, funk and electronic music, and sonically, the track flawlessly exemplifies his take on this hybridization.
“I was struggling to find a vocal approach that felt natural to me and this song really pointed me in the right direction,” McFerrin shares. “I stopped trying to push myself out of my comfort zone and started singing in a quiet, almost speaking tone, and I finally felt like it was me singing instead of a voice I was putting on. Lyrically, I realized if I just focused on real life moments, everything just flowed naturally.”
If Love's Last Chance is a snapshot of his life, then the song “Love and Distance” implicitly captures that liminal space and feeling of touring in a nuanced way. It also captures his new approach to using his voice, as this project is his first solo release in five years, but also his first as lead vocalist. As he rediscovers himself as a complete artist, McFerrin moves in his own right, breaking away from what is expected and instead doing what comes naturally.
The “Love and Distance” video arrives as McFerrin joins Common on his Let Love tour in Europe, which he’ll follow with his own solo U.S. outing starting Sept. 25.
Watch the “Love and Distance” video below and be sure to check out McFerrin’s tour dates after the jump.