Inspired track features David Bratton & The Virginia Union University Choir
José Feliciano has shared his new music video and reimagined audio recording of “I’m America (feat. David Bratton & Virginia Union University Choir).” The original version of the inspirational track is featured on Feliciano’s latest album, Behind This Guitar, available now via Anthem Records/Anthem Entertainment. The incomparable nine-time GRAMMY/Latin GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement recipient has reworked the .moving song to include the soaring voices of David Bratton (Choir Director) and the Virginia Union University Choir, resulting in a stirring musical collaboration. Tune into Good Morning America to see Feliciano, his band (including his sons Jonnie Feliciano and Mikey Feliciano), and members of the choir performing “I’m America” on June 10th.
“’I’m America’ portrays something I feel in my life…a song about love and country,” shares Feliciano. Long-time producer Rick Jarrard almost “fell on the floor” when he first heard the song and knew it would be an ideal match for the blind Puerto Rican kid who grew up in New York and, against all odds, became an international star. “This is his story,” Jarrard says, “and so many immigrants.” Although recorded over a year ago in Nashville, José acknowledges the song has taken on new meaning as of late and comments, “I’m hopeful ‘I’m America’ can send a message of peace and unity to people everywhere during these turbulent times. The gift of music can be universal and healing when we most need it.”
Directed by Frank Licari and Helen Murphy, the music video opens with a nod to the Latin star’s stylized interpretation of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before Game 5 of the 1968 World Series, making him the first artist to put a contemporary, personal and multicultural stamp on the National Anthem. The video kicks off with José returning to Detroit to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” once again for a Detroit Tigers game in 2018. He was met with exuberant cheers and thunderous gratitude, which drowned out the anger and bigotry of half a century earlier. The video goes on to highlight performance footage alongside landmark locations from around the U.S. and clips from 2019’s Puerto Rican Day Parade, where he was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award. The video was produced by Frank Licari, Mark Alan, Helen Murphy and Chris Price and was shot in Connecticut and New York City.
The cover art for “I’m America” was part of a commissioned mixed media piece painted by Alyse Stone, an American, multi-disciplinary visual artist and mechanical engineer. Entitled, “A World Honoring A Hero,” the piece marks the 50th anniversary of Feliciano’s controversial and historic performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and debuted at the Detroit Tigers Stadium World Series Exhibition, followed by a feature at the Detroit Historical Museum.
Behind This Guitar joins 60+ albums in an incredible discography, solidifying José’s revered standing with critics and fans alike. The Miami Herald noted, “In 2020, ‘I’m America’ fits Feliciano as well as any of the hundreds of songs he has recorded,” Guitar Player raved, “Feliciano’s latest album, Behind This Guitar is an energetic and soulful eight-song set,” Billboard commented on its “authentic melodies,” and People Magazine aptly stated in an extensive feature, “Once again, he’s in the midst of a resurgence.”
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.