That J Appiah is reaching the height of his game sonically is already apparent from only a cursory listen to ‘Calling’. His primary vehicle of melodic expression is his voice, and coupled with his disciplined and cinematic use of dynamics, he cuts an assertive figure at this early stage in his career. It’s this assertiveness that’s led him to work consistently against the grain of pop culture ephemera, in it for the long haul rather than a momentary flash in the pan.
‘Calling’ is a song to comfort the disturbed and to disturb the comfortable. Based on his experiences working for a homeless charity, it is a humble negation of himself: our story is his story. It is about the mind-made traps that people from all walks of life are prey to as they navigate the complexities of life; it is about the need we have for relief, from a pain we can’t always identify; and it is about the pursuits or the vices that become our salvation or our damnation.
The video for ‘Calling’ stems from a concept worked on by J and his good friend and director Mitch Kalisa. They wanted to reflect the themes of the song in visual form, settling on performances by actors who represent individuals in the throes of personal struggle. Balletic and interpretive in nature, their exact struggles aren’t outlined, allowing space for the viewer to project his or her own ideas and emotional responses into the frame.