Video Premiere: Uncertainty & Hope Collide in Shayfer James’ “Mostly Major Chords”

With a gorgeous piano melody backing up his emotive vocals, Shayfer James’ “Mostly Major Chords” is a dynamic and beautiful piece of music which is now emboldened through its intimate music video.

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To live a one-dimensional life would be nothing more than a recipe for disaster. Instead, one should embrace the uncertainty, the joy, or the anger that comes with life and all of its choices. This, naturally, extends into the realm of love, a realm that Shayfer James explores with “Mostly Major Chords,” a cut from his new EP Hope and a Hand Grenade (released February 1, 2019 via AWAL distribution [Kobalt Music]). It’s a gorgeous track which dives into the many facets of love, and with the help of friends and loved ones, James has made what is an aural wonderland of emotion into a visually stunning piece of art.

Hope And A Hand Grenade - Shayfer James

Hope And A Hand Grenade – Shayfer James

She found me 40 years from now
A shadow of myself
Her Youth was black mascara
and red wine
We talked for hours
Of how I thought I’d seen
Her somewhere else
And she was there beside me
When I died

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering the Chris Elassad-directed music video for “Mostly Major Chords” from New Jersey singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Shayfer James. Since 2008, James has been releasing music that dips into multiple styles and emotions, all culminating in a sound that is uniquely his. “Mostly Major Chords” is no exception, grabbing the best parts of an intimate piano ballad mixed together with personal storytelling which results in a track that is hard to forget.

“The song was written during a particularly difficult transitional time of my life,” James explains to Atwood Magazine. “It was the only time I can remember having writer’s block, so I put a call to action to my fans to give me ideas for songs and said I would write a song a day for seven days. One of the concepts came from a fan named Lizz Codner Szanto. The prompt was ‘love and time travel,’ and something in me just opened up. I wrote this song in half an hour and posted a demo online. It means to me all that is sad and beautiful about love. The uncertainty, the landmark moments, the hope, the humor, and the despair. All of it.”

It means to me all that is sad and beautiful about love; the uncertainty, the landmark moments, the hope, the humor, and the despair…

Shayfer James © Joe Velez

Shayfer James © Joe Velez

Love and time travel are perfect descriptors for “Mostly Major Chords.” It opens with soft touches of piano keys while James immediately begins to share his story. “She found me 40 years from now, a shadow of myself,” he sings with his soft and heartfelt vocals, unraveling the various faces of love. He then asks, “What’s the point in counting when a minute is a year?” The allusions to the hurt that love can bring are poignant, but his ways of showing the unfettered joy it also brings are equally as powerful, if not more so. “She told me I was beautiful and took away my hurt,” he continues to bellow out. It’s a difficult task to balance joy and sadness, but James has mastered this delicate process with utter ease.

What’s the point in counting
When a minute is a year
Every lover has their time
Every lover has their time
What’s the point in waiting
When you’re gone
Before you’re here
Every lover has their time
Every lover has their time

The track is a simple one, but that doesn’t stop its impact. That same simplicity was taken into a visual format, and the result is mixtures of whimsy, heartache, and beauty. “As soon as I started thinking about a video for this song,” details James, “there was only one thing that was certain: my friend Donald Gallagher had to be the only person in it. Just him doing mundane things. I think he is such a beautiful person. There is wisdom and whimsy in every movement he makes. I told my partner, Meghann Plunkett (genius writer), about the concept and she wrote the story that is depicted in the video shot for shot.  I didn’t have a single edit or note, it was just perfect to me.”

She found me 7 years ago
In some piano bar
She told me I’d be
Paramount some day
She smiled the kind of smile
That builds a fire in the dark
She bought my gin
And then she slipped away

Shayfer James © Joe Velez

What’s the point in counting
When a minute is a year
Every lover has their time
Every lover has their time
What’s the point in waiting
When you’re gone
Before you’re here
Every lover has their time
Every lover has their time

That beauty is evident the instant the video starts, and with snippets of James playing the piano scattered throughout, the video takes hold of its source and heightens it to new levels. “Chris Elassad directed and shot the video. The man is an artistic force in every way. His ability to guide Donald naturally through each sequence was so impressive to me. He beautifully shot four music videos from Hope and a Hand Grenade, but this one stands out to me.  It feels woven to his craft in a really unique way.”


Shayfer James has this natural gift of bringing warmth with his music, giving listeners an experience that sticks with them even after the music stops. The vulnerability James employs in noteworthy, and something that allows him to better connect with audiences, giving him an edge over other musicians in his space. “Mostly Major Chords” is a prime example of just that, and with the music video now accompanying it, the track is one that will continue to enchant throughout all of 2019 and beyond.

Watch: “Mostly Major Chords” – Shayfer James

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📸 © Joe Velez

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Adrian is a 2017 Florida State University graduate where he focused on editing, writing, and media. He is now living in Seattle, Washington. Adrian works as a digital marketer, but music and all that goes into it continues to be a passion of his. You may find Adrian wondering around the city aimlessly (more than likely lost) or at home watching anime, movies, or reading anything sci-fi related. He can also make a dang good plate of shrimp scampi.