Caleb Johnson's debut single, "Fighting Gravity," was initially conceived as a traditional love song. But it wasn't long before the tune took on greater, heavier meaning for both the Season 13 American Idol winner and his fans — and evidenced by the power ballad's new video, premiering today exclusively on Yahoo Music.
"As I performed the song live for people on tour, I just got a great reaction from people saying that song helped them get through tough periods of their life, when loved ones were passing away or someone was sick," Caleb explains. "It was just a really great song of comfort for them. That was such a huge honor for me as singer, as a performer, as an artist, to get that feedback, because it means you're doing your job as an artist and making music that connects with people on a deeper level."
A turning point in Caleb's life last fall made the song even more meaningful song for him, and by the time he shot the "Fighting Gravity" video, he had an entirely new concept in mind.
"I had this powerful moment in my life where I visited a children's hospital," he explains in a behind-the-scenes clip, reflecting on an encounter with a child suffering from a rare, terminal form of pediatric brain cancer called DIPG. "Me being in that room with [the boy] and his mother and his aunt was just a powerful and haunting moment in my life that I'll never forget. I just remember leaving and getting in my car and driving and thinking, 'This story has got be told. People need to see this and really see what I saw in that room.'"
The resulting touching, tear-jerking "Fighting Gravity" video focuses on the tragic story an ailing boy who finds hope, and an escape from his mortal coil and hospital bed, via his fanciful fantasies of space travel. As the boy takes flight, so does the song, and we dare you not to be ugly-crying by the video's emotional end.
Caleb hopes the video will "raise awareness and bring to light this terrible disease that strikes down families... really any sickness and illness that riddles families and just takes a normal family and flips it on their head and rips up people's lives… Once people really start to think about the mysteries and ins and outs and ebbs and flows of life, people really need to sit down and be thankful and be humbled about their existence on earth, and just enjoy the moment."
Check out Caleb's acoustic performance of "Fighting Gravity" at Yahoo Music last year: