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 News Pop / Rock 01/03/2019

Pop-Noir Artist Shayfer James Honors & Uplifts Survivors Of Abuse With Music Video For Ballad "Ophelia"

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New York, NY (Top40 Charts) NJ pop-noir artist Shayfer James released a beautiful and inspirational music video for his song "Ophelia" today, to coincide with the start of Women's History Month. An ode to women and victims of abuse, the song provides a deep reflection to the long-standing effects of abuse and trauma, yet provides inspiration for survivors to overcome and carry on. The message is further brought to life in the video, with dancers depicting women supporting each other through shared trauma. Working to break the cycle, Shayfer James calls attention to the all-too-common issues of physical, emotional and psychological abuse, and offers a path of connection and healing.

"Ophelia is about survivors," shared James. "More women I know have been abused in some way than haven't, including my family members, and that is immeasurably troubling to me." The track's inspiration first took place during an collaborative art project, where he wrote songs based on visual art. "The work it is based on is actually called Ophelia, a sketch of a veiled woman by Ceallaigh Lorenz-Talleyrand. The title and image made me think of Hamlet and how Ophelia is depicted as mad in the play. I wanted to reframe her as a victim of abuse, manipulation, and gas-lighting. The concept of gas-lighting has so much to do with memory. For me, in this song, Ophelia is a hero because she remembers herself and how to escape."

With a number of music videos under his belt, including a recent gothic-rock cabaret feature for "Mercy Down" and surrealist-inspired piece for "Crack A Bottle, Run A Bath" James decided to take a different approach for "Ophelia". The video focuses on a group of dancers to depict the cycle of hurt and loss, followed by the compassion and healing that comes through the support of others in time. Meagan Woods choreographed the performance, further heightening it's swell of intense emotional release. B-sides & Badlands premiered the feature, describing how Woods' "rapt poise, beauty and mastery pours forth onto the screen, truly illustrating the breathtaking glory of a soul's freedom into peace." James went on to share, "Originally my name was on the slate as director, but we changed that about two hours into shooting because it was so abundantly clear that this was Meagan's video." Christopher M. Elassad directed the shoot, and dancer Myssi Robinson leads the performance, with support from Ceallaigh Lorenz-Talleyrand, Michelle Pfriender, Monica Gonzalez, Morgan Refakis, Heather Warfel, Delana Ramos, and Veronica Gagliardi.

In honor of Women's History Month, Shayfer James is donating all proceeds from "Ophelia" track sales (made via Bandcamp) to local NJ charity, York Street Project. The non-profit's mission is to "provide an environment to shelter, feed, educate and promote the healing of women, children, and their families." James will also be donating $1 from every ticket sold to his EP release show, on Friday, March 8 - coinciding with International Women's Day - at Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 2 in NYC (9pm show, $10, 21+). "Ophelia" comes off Shayfer James' new EP Hope And A Hand Grenade which was released February 1. It is available on all major digital retailers, including Spotify, Bandcamp, and Apple Music.

Shayfer James is a Rock Noir singer-songwriter, composer and multi-instrumentalist. With music that is equally at home on playlists that feature Nick Cave, Fiona Apple, Amy Winehouse and Leonard Cohen, Shayfer moves unflinchingly from soulful uptempo rock to serene ballads. Known for his poetic, gothic-tinged lyrics, swaggering grooves, whiskey humor, and captivating, theatrical live performances Shayfer is a true showman whether it be on large festival stages or at living room house concerts.

Shayfer's darkly fascinating musical story reaches far back into his early childhood when he nearly lost two fingers while curiously reaching his right hand into the engine compartment of his father's idling tractor. After emergency surgery and skin grafting, Shayfer's mother sat with him and exercised his fingers at the piano every day for months. It is that early relationship with piano that, fifteen years later, resulted in the piano becoming an innate emotional and physical extension of Shayfer's writing; a mechanism through which he creates, communicates, heals and destroys.

Shayfer began recording music in 2008 and since then, he has released two full length albums, three EPs and various singles, as well as special projects and demos for his fans. He has toured and performed at festivals and events in the U.S. (Art Basel, CMJ), the UK, Iceland (SagaFest) and Hong Kong. Shayfer's music has been featured by Filter Magazine, MTV Hive and as New & Noteworthy on iTunes. His original songs and musical scores have appeared in horror and suspense films which premiered at The Tribeca Film Festival 2017, SXSW 2018 and North Bend Film Festival 2018. In addition to writing, recording, performing and scoring for film, Shayfer is currently writing two musicals with collaborator Kate Douglas (Sleep No More, NYC) which have been developed in residence at Goodspeed Musicals, The O'Neill, and Rhinebeck Writers.
Shayfer recently released his fourth EP, Hope And A Hand Grenade, on February 1, 2019 via AWAL distribution (Kobalt Music).

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