Video Premiere: Pete Francis Shares ‘Neon Light Blind’ Single “Smile”

April 11, 2024
Video Premiere: Pete Francis Shares ‘Neon Light Blind’ Single “Smile”

Photo Credit: Jeff Pliskin

Today, April 11, Pete Francis has shared his new single and official music video for “Smile.” The song functions as a preview of his forthcoming solo EP, Neon Light Blind, due May 17, 2024. The new number is fueled by positivity and sonically presents with a reggae lean that, according to the artist, reflects his experience growing up on his father’s boat and the music he was exposed to at that time. 

“Smile” arrives alongside a visual equalizer, which further evokes the song’s prominent message of alacrity. While lyrics accentuate the meaning, the video complements the artist’s intent, with recorded captures of paper plate smiley faces flipped to reveal the beam and brilliance of many featured individuals.

“I’ve been singing the chorus ‘You’ve got to smile every day, it’s gonna keep your troubles far away’ for years now, but it took a while for the rest of the lyrics to come together. I was deeply inspired to finish it, because a smile from someone else feels so good, it can change your whole energy! ‘Smile’ is a celebration of this simple gesture, one that will hopefully inspire them to make the world a better place.” Francis told Relix in an exclusive quote. 

“Speaking of making things better, when Mannix from DubShot Records suggested the idea of working with Green Lion Crew and Don Camel, I was all for it! They are both well-respected producers in the roots reggae genre, and hearing their interpretations was amazing. There’s nothing like an extended Dub remix to keep the good times rolling,” the artist continued, touching on the single and pair of remixes that will be released tomorrow, April 12. 

Francis continued, giving background on the “Smile” music video: “The video was inspired by the album covers of the single, which drops on Friday, and the EP Neon Light Blind which is coming 5/17. We filmed at our favorite pizza spot in Grigg Street Pizza CT, and in front of sites that have been struck by the pizza graffiti bandit, who has been getting alot of attention recently for tagging pizza shops all through Westchester County. We used director Jeff Pliskin from Raised Fist Propaganda, who has worked with other reggae-influenced artists like Slightly Stoopid and has a cool street style to how he shoots his videos.”

Neon Light Blind follows Francis’ 2023 release, PTRN SKY, his second self-produced project, recorded companionless at Dragoncrest, the musician’s home studio in Connecticut. The lead’s backing band on rhythm tracks—Kenny Shaw, Andy K, Ben Higginbotham and Francis’ wife, Katie, laying down vocals—are featured across the set. 

Francis first rose to prominence in the late 1990s as a founding member of the alt-roots ensemble Dispatch, gaining notoriety as an innovator of the modern indie rock scene. Despite his band’s music lean, the artist uses his forthcoming set to hone in on the musical influences that held early meaning, “Reggae bands and the music of great songwriters have been an influence on me since sailing on my Dad’s boat as a kid.”

There were five CDs in rotation: Bob Marley’s Legend, Van Morrison’s Moondance, Dire Straits’ first album, and Joni Mitchell’s Blue. We sailed in the Caribbean with my Dad at the helm all around St. Vincent and the Grenadines. On one trip, Grenada was the final destination. I remember Bob Marley’s Legend playing over and over and over again. Reggae and Caribbean music have always influenced my music. I toured in the early 2000s with Ziggy Marley and Steel Pulse. I remember standing on the side of the stage watching and feeling how deep the groove was.”

Watch the official music video for “Smile” below. Pre-order/ save Neon Light Blind now.

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