Pop singer Emmanuel Kelly, who was found in a box in a park in Iraq when he was an infant but eventually went on to compete on Australia’s X Factor with a now-viral version of “Imagine,” is releasing the video for his timely Paul Oakenfold & Varun remix of “Never Alone” on Thursday (April 9).
The video features Demi Lovato, Chris Martin, Terrence Howard, J.K. Simmons, Elisabeth Moss, Jean-Claude Van Damme and his son Kris, Pia Toscano, Royce da 5’9″, Jonathan Ross, Vanness Wu, Brian Grazer and his wife Veronica and nephew Jack Grazer, Kelly’s two-time Paralympian brother Ahmed Kelly and many more. They share encouraging and inspirational 30-second cameos of raw, unfiltered and heartfelt words telling the camera what they do to gain strength when they feel alone. They join Emmanuel on his #NeverAlone and #NeverAloneChallenge to advocate for global mental health and encourage people to virtually embrace and authentically connect with each other while going through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Emmanuel tells us why he chose to shoot the video in front of a bathroom mirror. “When people are feeling isolated, depressed, alone and are trying to regain their strength and force themselves to embrace and love themselves and lift their spirits up, the one thing they always do is they go to the bathroom, look at themselves in the mirror and they cry; sometimes they punch the mirror and talk to themselves. So I felt that by doing in front of the mirror it would create the most realistic approach to feeling frustrated, depressed, isolated. Where we are with COVID-19, the one place that people probably are spending a lot of their time every night or morning is in that bathroom in front of that mirror trying to lift themselves saying, ‘You got this.’ I’ve struggled with and felt anxiety and depression and I have been in places that I have no money or on the street, and people tell me that I would never make it in the music industry or that I would never achieve my dreams. There’s countless times I have stayed in front of the mirror and said to myself, ‘you can do this Emmanuel.'”
The #NeverAloneChallenge invites viewers and fans to creatively express themselves through photos and videos on what they do when they feel alone as well. Those that feel comfortable are encouraged to share with the world their #NeverAloneChallenge on social media.
Kelly wrote the song “Never Alone” when he was just 11 years old after he saw his mother go through the loss of a two-year-old child she had brought from Bosnia to Australia for surgery. She was about to give up her humanitarian way of life when she felt something telling her she’s not alone, to keep fighting and not give up. Kelly states, “After experiencing and watching her go through this, I realized that we are not alone. And if she had given up, my brother and I wouldn’t be where we are today, so for that, I am very thankful for her courage, her strength and her commitment for not giving up.”
“Never Alone” was brought to life for the first time right after Kelly’s appearance on Australia’s X Factor, but the song didn’t entirely make the impact he wanted. At the time, the song was more of an acoustic pop ballad, with slow beats and a melancholy sadness.
Kelly wanted to do something different with the song, took a step back and realized that the timing wasn’t right. He also wanted the song to make people feel happy. That’s when he came together with legendary DJ/producer Paul Oakenfold in 2019 and remixed it with a higher energy sound, with Chris Martin serving as executive producer. “Never Alone” will feature on Kelly’s upcoming fall EP. The “Never Alone” video is produced by Kunal Sood (Founder and CXO of X Fellows and NOVUS Summit) and Henry J. Kim (Luminous Media US).