London-based, American singer/songwriter Nell Bryden has teamed up with independent Welsh filmmaker Rhys Davies (Furball Films) to create a sensitive portrayal of the devastating effects of dementia.
The compelling, compassionate video is soundtracked by the song ‘Thought I Was Meant For You’, taken from Nell’s upcoming album ‘Bloom’ (released January 27 2017).
The story was inspired by a feature about a couple desperate for marriage equality before Alzheimer’s took hold. Surrounded by a bleak Welsh backdrop of greys and greens, the video follows a couple dealing with the sadness of loss: a partner watching his loved one slowly fade away, day by day, due to an illness beyond anyone’s control.
The video features ex-Marine Tip Cullen, with whom Rhys has worked before on the VOTD winning video The Element, in the role of carer, and Michael Davies, a former photographer, who – despite little acting experience – captures the brutality and bewilderment of this unforgiving condition. “Both actors were superb. They handled their roles with such grace and delicacy and did the story justice” said Rhys who directed, filmed and edited the video.
Originally written as a simple break-up song, once Nell started working with Rhys the meaning behind the story started to evolve. Talking about how Rhys’ creative interpretation introduced fresh symbolism to the lyrics, Nell said, “the video has taken the song in a new, compelling and powerful direction for me. It’s about companionship and unexpected circumstances… the connection doesn’t change.” Nell witnessed first-hand the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s when her step-grandmother suffered from the disease:
“She moved next door to us when I was about 12, and we became really close. She was a southern belle, not even 5 feet tall, and related somehow to Johnny Cash. She played the piano beautifully and taught music lessons in her living room. I spent a lot of time at her house when my mom and I started fighting, and somehow she never made me feel like the awkward surly teenager that I clearly was. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s after I moved away, and when it got bad enough that she couldn’t live at her home with a nurse anymore she moved to a nursing home, and then after that to an even more depressing nursing home for advanced Alzheimer’s sufferers. It was awful to see her like that, her body strong as ever but her mind making her comatose, slumped in her chair with empty eyes. It was terrible for my stepfather every time he saw her, since she was no longer his “mother.” She lived another ten years after her diagnosis, but I know she would never have wanted to hold on that long, and would have been horrified to see herself at the end. I think Alzheimer’s is probably one of the worst ways to exit this world.”
Nell Bryden – Thought I Was Meant For You, from the new album ‘Bloom’
Written by Nell Bryden
Video directed by Rhys Davies, Furball Films.
P&C 2017 Nell Bryden Ltd
‘Thought I Was Meant For You’ is currently sitting on the BBC Radio 2 playlist. ‘Bloom’ Nell’s fourth album, is released on January 27th 2017 and is Radio 2’s Album Of The Week (w/c 30 Jan). Inspired by much of Nell’s life, the stories told on this record encompass every human emotion, from the poignant to the joyously triumphant.
Nell is also presenting a four week BBC Radio 2 series ‘Nell’s Kitchen’ exploring the historical music scene in New York.