Sufjan Stevens is back with new cut "Video Game", which stars Renegade dance creator Jalaiah Harmon, and is a second taster of his forthcoming album The Ascension.
"Video Game" arrives after last month's 12-and-a-half-minute closing track "America". The new single arrives with a visual directed by Nicole Ginelli, and sees TikTok Renegade dance creator Jalaiah Harmon star in the video.
Sufjan Stevens says of the single, "It’s unfortunate that we live in a society where the value of people is quantified by likes, followers, listeners and views. So many people are seeking attention for the wrong reasons. I think we should all be doing our best work without looking for accolades or seeking reward. The main takeaway of "Video Game" for me is: your worth (invaluable) should never be based on other people’s approval (ephemeral). Just be yourself. Keep it real. Keep it moving. Do all things with absolute purity, love and joy. And always do your best."
He adds of the video, "Jalaiah epitomises all of this and I’m truly inspired by her. So I thought, 'what if we could get Jalaiah to star in a "dance video" about not wanting to star in a "dance video"?' I’m so honored she agreed. She clearly owns it, and her work here is beautiful, poignant and true. Her dance shows incredible energy, work-ethic and spirit. She is dancing for herself, not anyone else. Her choreography is sophisticated, nuanced, and fun. She is a star. She keeps it real. She keeps it moving. She keeps it true. What a blessing!"
Harmon adds, "This was my first time being asked to create choreo for a whole song. So I was a little nervous in the beginning, but once I really broke the song into parts and listened to the lyrics over and over, I just put moves together that connected to the words and felt natural for me to do. I think I’m still really trying to get used to this kind of success, so I can’t really define it just yet. I just know that when you work hard and you treat others with kindness and fairness, good things come back to you."
The Ascension will be Stevens' first album since releasing Aporia in March - a collaborative LP with his stepfather Lowell Brams. It will be Stevens' first solo album since 2015's Carrie & Lowell.
Discussing his album, the singer/songwriter explains, "My objective for this album was simple: Interrogate the world around you. Question anything that doesn’t hold water. Exterminate all bullshit. Be part of the solution or get out of the way. Keep it real. Keep it true. Keep it simple. Keep it moving."