Today is the day Shadow and Bone/The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian/The Punisher/Westworld actor Ben Barnes has been waiting 20 years for. His highly anticipated debut EP, Songs For You, is out now via Label Logic, as distributed by Ingrooves.
Also out today is the stirring and emotional video for “Rise Up,” which was directed by Georgia King and features his The Punisher co-star Floriana Lima.
About the EP and the song from which the title is based, In Style proclaimed, “The song’s timeless intimacy calls to mind the kind of vulnerability Joni Mitchell talked about when she talked about writing her seminal Blue album, that she felt like ‘a cellophane wrapper on a pack of cigarettes,’ susceptible to being torn away. The vulnerability Barnes displays on Songs For You is similarly defenseless, an unhesitant ripping open.” And as Medium.com phrased quite poetically, “The five songs on Songs For You, his debut EP, prevent some events from becoming blurred memories of twenty years ago. Those who have played a role in them, now decorate rhythmic poems, emanate the warmth of a Sunday morning and collect stars at nightfall.”
About filming the video “Rise Up,” Barnes reveals, “I’ve known Georgia for 15 years from home. She showed me some of her shorts and other music videos, and I just loved her pitch for the story of building the sun out of old televisions and memories. That’s what she pictured listening to the song, and I responded to the abstract, determined tenderness of the concept. It felt how I did when writing the song. I hoped it might feel like the partner video to ‘11:11.’ It’s grungy and grimy, melancholy and emotional, but has a beautiful, hopeful, happy, peaceful ending–the polar opposite to the slick, stylish, upbeat tuxedo vibes of ‘11:11.’ Also, the wonderful Floriana Lima (my therapist in The Punisher), with whom I always acted so comfortably, intimately and easily opposite in the show, was a dream to have to bring the sunshine to the video.”
As Georgia King describes, “Ben leads with a courageous heart and you hear that in his music. I really wanted to capture the love, longing and hope in ‘Rise Up.’ By seeing Ben in a dark place create something full of light, by watching him build the sun out of beautiful memories, I strove to show all of the compassion, strength and vulnerability Ben so powerfully expresses in this song.”
About the EP title, Barnes shared, “Songs For You comes from one of my favorite records, ‘A Song For You’ by Leon Russell (but the Donny Hathaway version, of course), from wanting the songs to speak intimately to anyone who listens to them, and because if a song is written for you, you know who you are.”