Pop, soul and world music producer, singer/songwriter and violinist Queen Rose braced herself and her crew against sub-freezing temps to complete the mid-January 2012 filming of her BUILDING BRIDGES music video in Central Park.
A groundbreaking project undertaken with strategic partner Hal Eisenberg, executive director of Windows of Opportunity, Inc., a non-profit that trains youth leaders, Building Bridges fittingly “wrapped up shooting on Martin Luther King Day and is being released just in time for Black History Month. This is all about having a constructive conversation about race and history and how we can all share the work of creating a better world,” says Austria-born, New York-based Queen Rose, the video’s creator, composer and song writer.
“This video involves the work and commitment of 40 people—over two whole days in the biting cold—who are passionate about the BUILDING BRIDGES mission. This isn’t just a song; it’s the backdrop of a bigger plan to create a bit of heaven right here on earth. Building Bridges is all about getting people from every background talking and sharing and caring,” says Queen Rose, whose resume includes being featured violinist for Trey Songz’ spotlight on MTV Unplugged. She has appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and in the movie “August Rush;” with her own band at The Blue Note, Knitting Factory and other celebrated venues; and on 18 studio album recordings. As a member of the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas, Queen Rose has performed with the likes of John Legend, Santana, Gloria Estefan and Patti LaBelle.
The Building Bridges video is a particularly heartfelt and personal project, Queen Rose says. It is part of a broader plan to spread Queen Rose’s vision through her Building Bridges organization, a fledgling non-profit whose sole focus is fostering an intercultural, peace-generating dialogue about our entwined human concerns and interests.
That endeavor has gotten the backing of, among others, Hal Eisenberg, the video’s associate producer. “The first time I heard Building Bridges I felt like I was hearing the ‘We Are the World’ of today,” says Eisenberg, executive director of Windows of Opportunity, a New York City nonprofit that is, among other initiatives, using music to train youth leaders, artisans and entrepreneurs.
Eisenberg plays the male lead in the video. His co-star is Kimberly Tanksley, who does double duty as production coordinator. They portray an interracial couple bowing—temporarily—to societal taboos against love across lines of race. When they split up in 1998, she becomes a single parent. But, they get back together in 2012, defying the odds and rising above the imposed pressures. Their reconciliation is a lesson in love, forgiveness and pushing the borders of race and romance.
Some footage was shot during the actual MLK Day service at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York, where Queen Rose considers herself blessed to be in the Sacred Arts Ministry band. “I also wanted to convey how I build bridges in my own life.”
The video is the outgrowth of a partnership between Queen Rose and Eisenberg, who met at United Global Shift training (http://www.unitedglobalshift.org/), which designs and facilitates programs and workshops for people engaged in initiatives aimed at creating a better, more equitable world.
That aspiration is embodied in the song, Building Bridges, co-written and co-produced by Queen Rose, a classical- and jazz-trained violinist, and Mark Shine. It features rock reggae artist Shine’s vocals, layered over Queen Rose’s lush string arrangements. It fuses Queen Rose’s formidable European classical music background with America’s sizzling rock, soul and R&B sounds—culminating in a pop arrangement with an accessible, catchy, globally appealing lyrical hook.
That same artistry will yield the May 2012 release of Queen Rose’s two world/pop/soul albums, projects that also are tinged with hip-hop and feature several indie rappers and vocalists, including Grammy winners. Partial proceeds from the “Building Bridges” album will be donated to Windows of Opportunity’s Music Leadership program, Rock Ur Heart Out, which is currently building a music studio for at-risk and under-served youth in Queens Village, New York.