Local family hosts red carpet event for Jhuryll Phoenix music videosWritten by Matt Liasse | | email@example.com
“From the deep reaches of space comes a being like no other: part man, part musician, part hero. Torn between love and death, [he] discovers his new-found ability to set the wrong things right.”
A narrator begins “Start Over,” the first chapter of “Start Over Saga,” a series of music videos, with a shot of light beamed on Earth from space. This is the first introduction of Jhuryll Phoenix, a superhero rapper character created by a local family.
“My son and I were talking one night about creating a different type of musician,” creator Matt Heart said, who stars in the videos. “There’s a lot of musicians out there, right? How many of them claim to be a superhero? None. How many of them fly around in their videos and still rap and save the day? None.”
In September, a wing of Toledo Express Airport was reserved to film a scene for the upcoming music video “Airplane,” the third in the series. Reserving the wing was something the Hearts felt lucky to be able to do.
“My wife has the golden tongue,” Heart said.
The Hearts filmed on a runway for 20 minutes while no one was on it. Planes began landing shortly after they were finished shooting.
The week prior, shots were filmed at Stormin Norman’s Trading Post, 5860 Lewis Avenue. In “I’m In Love,” the second installment, viewers get a glimpse of the Maumee Indoor Theatre, 601 Conant Street.
“We filmed all over, I love [Toledo]. It’s a great place,” Heart said. “We filmed in Lima, we filmed in Maumee, we filmed Downtown Toledo by COSI.”
The first video follows Phoenix, played by Heart’s 19-year-old-son who goes by the name. In the video, Phoenix discovers his time changing abilities as he attempts to save his girlfriend who was killed by a driver who was texting.
The second installment, viewers learn of another power Phoenix has: the power to heal.
“You don’t find out how Jhuryll got his powers until this [next] episode, No. 3,” Heart said.
Each music video, ranging from eight to 23 minutes, takes roughly three months to shoot. The installments have been released four months apart: “Start Over” debuted in June and “I’m In Love” debuted in September. The Hearts said the project will have 12 installments.
The music videos play like a rock opera with the music telling the stories of Phoenix. Heart said the concept of all 12 videos is already planned out and they have seven songs are already recorded.
“Nobody in Toledo is doing anything like this,” Heart said.
The second video features a ballet number by Kayla King, who plays Heather and the Light Angel. It was her dancing that got her the part.
“We knew the minute we [saw] her dance. We didn’t even have to see anything else about her,” wife Lori Heart said. “She’s 15, but she has a real purity about her … and she can act.”
“Airplane,” which will make its debut Dec. 6, will feature some special effects. The fourth video, “Pick Up A Gun,” which the Hearts will begin filming during Toledo’s first snow, will involve zombies. Anyone can sign up to be a zombie extra by visiting startoversaga.com and clicking on “Zombie Extras.”
The music and the project
“Music always comes first,” Heart said.
Heart said the idea for the music came in response to the vulgarity of today’s hip-hop.
“There’s a lot of sexual innuendos in music nowadays; a lot of drinking, partying, doing mollies and all that stuff,” Heart said. “We just want to tone it down and take it back to how music used to be.”
Phoenix wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father, who has been in the music business for years.
“We complement each other,” Heart said.
The concept was mostly thought of by Heart, which he is hoping to turn into a franchise. In addition to the videos and music (which is featured on iTunes), Lori is in the process of writing a book that follows the same story line.
“It actually tells the story from where Jhuryll is born to the end of chapter 12,” Lori said. “The book is the whole sha-bang.”
The first two parts of the series are available online at startoversaga.com. Both of them, and the third chapter, “Airplane,” will be premiered during a red carpet event at 6 p.m. on Dec. 6 at The Blarney Irish Pub’s Event Center, 601 Monroe Street. Admission is $5 and proper dress attire is required.
“It’s red carpet, it’s fancy-schmancy,” Lori said.
The event is open to the public and tickets can be purchased at startoversaga.com in the events section or by calling (818) 863-6013.