Singer and songwriter, Jenny Van West, works in the Portland, Maine area as part of an extensive network of Americans and recent immigrants helping to greet, welcome, and settle others who were just arriving. Her new single and music video “Never Alone,” was inspired by her close friend from Lubumbashi, DRC, and the countless other immigrants and refugees she has met in Maine. This particular friend had been forced to flee due to threats on his life from the government, with his wife and child forced into hiding while he escaped to seek asylum in the United States.
It was while being fed a home cooked meal in his apartment that Jenny was struck by how positive he was to keep himself and his outlook optimistic, despite enduring terrible traumas and separation. She wanted to write a song that would honor what she knew about his (and many others’) experience, that would also speak to the universal human experience of feeling separated from those we love the most. This song has held deep meaning for her personally while touring the US and Europe in support of her critically-acclaimed 2018 album with Happiness to Burn.
Jenny worked with Rwandan videographer and photographer, Egide, who has a deep understanding of the inspiration behind the writing and production of “Never Alone.” Along with Jenny, her son Charles, is also featured in the video as the car driver, and local Portland, Maine artist, Titi de Baccarat (who was also forced to flee his home country, and came to Portland in 2015), as the bicyclist. The location of filming all took place in the heart of Portland, including Monument Square, Fort Sumner Park, Munjoy Hill, along with Two Lights, Cape Elizabeth and an access road near Portland International Jetport in South Portland.
The performances are as follows: Jenny West (Lead Vocals), Shane Alexander (Vocals, Guitar), Austin Beede (Drums), Justine Bennett (Vocals), Carl Bryon (Keys), Ted Russell Kamp (Bass) and Jesse Siebenberg on Pedal Steel.
Watch “Never Alone”: