MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Jon Muq’s “One You Love” Video

Jon Muq’s career so far has been a stunning exercise in perseverance—from busking in his Ugandan village to making the rounds on the cruise-ship circuit to finding the perfect label home for his unabashedly upbeat songs via Dan Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound. Muq is now living in Austin, not far from where the street scenes were shot for his latest video, “One You Love.”

“Right away, the Auerbach-infused rhythm section took me to an image of Jon walking through the streets of Austin, perfectly in step with its beat,” says director Amos David McKay. “Inspired by timeless videos like the Verve’s ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ and Springsteen’s ‘Streets Of Philadelphia,’ I knew it would be a strong visual, even though it’s such a simple idea: just Jon in his thoughts, pleading for love.”

But Muq was looking to go even deeper. “He wanted to manifest the unrequited love on the screen, which we did in kind of a fleeting and abstract manner,” says McKay. “It added a layer of mystery that captures the essence of the song—and the enigmatic experience of being in love with someone you’ve never met, or who may not even exist.”

“One You Love” is the second of 12 perfectly formed nuggets on Flying Away, among the more impressive debuts to come along in quite some time. Very much a product of his Third World upbringing, Muq effortlessly embraces a host of influences—from reggae, soul and Afrobeat to funk, R&B and ’60s/’70s radio pop. On Flying Away, all of it finds a fresh voice and a soft place to land. This is a guy, after all, whose first exposure to Western music came via 1985’s We Are The World album.

It only takes a short chat with Muq to be swayed by his glass-half-full philosophy on life. Fittingly, “One You Love” puts a constructive spin on a tough breakup, finding solace in the realization that someone can impact your life for the better, even if they don’t stick around.

“It wasn’t a happy experience,” says Muq. “But that didn’t stop me from writing something positive.”

Muq initially delivered the song as a slower number, but Auerbach had other ideas, changing the tempo and beefing up the groove. “It sounds great that way,” says Muq.

We’re proud to premiere the video for “One You Love.” Look for Flying Away on May 31.

—Hobart Rowland