In the new video for Madisen Ward and Mama Bear’s “Childhood Goodbye,” leaving behind one’s youth is more than loss of innocence. It’s the source of artistic awakening that plays out in vivid childhood memories, complete with a cameo from Emmy-winning actor and director Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
The video, directed by Raymond Wei, begins with Ward and his mother, Ruth (the duo’s Mama Bear) seated in a diner together. Her presence adds gravity to the visceral observations that Ward makes in his lyrics, given that she raised him. “Held my own skin and bone, ain’t much left to give,” Ward sings at one point in the song, which doubles not only as a rumination on aging but also the creative process. “Burn all the weeds,” he sings later, “plant the seeds of your poetry.”
Gordon-Levitt’s production company HitRecord was involved in the making of the video, which uses an array of actors posing while childhood footage is projected on their faces. He says that Ward has been involved with the company for years in a musical capacity, predating even the formation of Madisen Ward and Mama Bear.
“His contributions would range from a surreal muppet-like falsetto about a sad king to a dark, underground-style rap about the blood of wolves. Then, once he blew up, he kept this different side of his creative self alive and running wild undercover on our site,” Gordon-Levitt says. “So it’s all the more special that he wanted to make the video for his new Mama Bear song with us. I think a lot of people in the community were really touched, and I was too.”
Madisen Ward and Mama Bear have released one album together, 2015’s acclaimed Skeleton Crew.