Colorado musician/philanthropist Jace Allen (aka Jason Mendelson) shares the official video for the title track of his July 2022 debut album, Taking Sides. The video, made with collaborator and philanthropist Seth Levine, continues Allen’s wide charitable efforts, and will benefit non-profit New Story. New Story dedicates funding to building homes across Latin America for families in need. Learn more about New Story here and donate to Allen’s campaign here.
The music video for the album’s title track, filled with stunning aerial footage, was directed by frequent collaborator Stephen Albanese. The track was a joint effort with Allen’s longtime friend Seth Levine who helped conceptualize, produce and ultimately inspired its completion. Sonically, “Taking Sides” expands Allen’s musical world as it brings the musician into an electronic/deep house space. Allen shares, “As I began to create the album, my former business partner Seth challenged me to write a song in the electronic / deep house genre. At the time I had zero experience working in this world, but I thought it might be fun to collaborate. Seth has an intensely informative ear so I trust him. He guided me through the process, produced the track and without him I wouldn’t have had the guts to even attempt it. After the song was written, I found the melody and lyrics to be inspired by another friend’s impending divorce.”
All of Allen’s releases have partnered with a charity to promote and benefit. Levine, also a longtime charitable supporter and philanthropist, suggested New Story for the “Taking Sides” music video release. A non-profit tackling one of the world’s largest problems, homelessness, New Story dedicates all of their funding to physically building homes across Latin America for families who need them most. Both Allen and Levine will be pledging $1,000 per 10,000 streams of their own money up to $10,000.
A truly multi-faceted work, Jace Allen’s debut full-length album Taking Sides has been making waves since its release. From a SPIN Magazine feature surrounding Allen’s blend of charity work and music, to explosively positive reaction to his “soaring, powerful” single supporting Ukraine, “Hail Federate,” Allen smoothly explores several styles including rock, funk, soul, country, and pop that focuses on multiple perspectives of conflict and resolution. Over ten tracks, Allen turns back to music as he deeply reflects on various struggles that occur both internally and externally, allowing his body of work to be a source of connection, understanding and healing.
Taking Sides features a variety of collaborators including Payge Turner (The Voice, Season 19) and David Cremin, as well as featured players such as Divinity Roxx (Beyoncé), Dave Immerman (Avril Lavigne), JUNO (Bruno Mars, Camila Cabello), Akie Bermiss (Lake Street Dive), Brad Hargreaves (Third Eye Blind), and more. The eclectic sound of this record strikingly bends genres and allows Allen to come into his own artistry. “This album is the culmination of my first year of going back to music full time,” says Allen. “I chose not to edit and wrote whatever came to me. In the end, multiple genres came out of my brain, but ironically the songs all tied together lyrically. ‘Taking Sides’ is more than just the title track, as it’s a description. Each of the songs all talk about some sort of conflict and I think the album, as a whole, is a conflict between my different modes of songwriting. Perhaps the audience will tell me what genre they think I should focus on.”
Today’s release follows the latest single, “Hail Federate,” with its accompanying video also directed by Albanese, that meditates on the war in Ukraine, which has now garnered over 350,000 views on YouTube. True to his philanthropic roots, all of Allen’s releases have focused on charity. “Hail Federate” benefited The 1K Project, a volunteer-based organization that connects sponsors worldwide to families impacted by the war in Ukraine. Speaking to the inspiration for the track, and its charitable aspect, Allen explains, “I was sitting at home feeling helpless about Russia’s attempted takeover of Ukraine. I kept reading stories of the “every man” leaving his life to fight and feeling deep respect toward them. I pictured the Ukrainian farmer laying his plow on the ground, making sure his family is safe and taking up arms to fight and this song wrote itself almost immediately.” In no way do I think this song helps their plight,” adds Allen, “but my wife and I found a great organization that helps families in Ukraine.”
Also appearing on the LP are the previously-released collaborations with Payge Turner, “Underwater” and most recently “Battleborn.” The lush, funk-fueled “Underwater” benefitted The Clean Slate Initiative, a non-profit that raises money for social justice reform and clears the records of those formerly in the prison system, who commit to staying crime-free. Previous singles Allen has released raised money for the Colorado Relief Fund and Breakthrough (formerly Defy Colorado).
“Battleborn,” and its video, are cutting edge and brutal, a remnant of a time past mixed with the relevance of today’s pop. Turner’s voice soars while Allen’s enveloping vocals create the backbone for the song’s journey–a narrative about coming to grips with the world’s challenges, knowing well that many more lie ahead. Upon its release, the track benefitted Partners For Justice, a non-profit that works toward breaking the cycle of poverty and criminalization. Bringing together world-class players across styles, Allen and Turner sought to break barriers with their teamwork resulting in an anthemic track filled with strength, perseverance and fearlessness.
The official video for “Taking Sides” brings Jace Allen into a new sonic space against stunning aerial footage as he seeks to help build homes for families in need across Latin America. Donate and learn more about New Story’s mission here, and connect with Jace Allen on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for more.