FARGO — For any aspiring musician, shooting a first music video is a memorable experience they won’t soon forget.

Often clocking in at four minutes or less, there’s a whole host of lessons packed into the experience, including coming up with unique choreography and collaborating with fellow artists. The bite-sized outcome is more than a flash in the pan for the voice behind the song.

In his recent music video, Jack Yakowicz, known by performing name Jacksun., gets a taste of the work that goes into creating a story for his song, "Drumbeat."

“The biggest shock to me — with this being my first full-length video — was the amount of time and labor that goes into it,” Yakowicz says.

Chamber Six Media shoots the intro to "Drumbeat," a whimsical and thought-provoking music video about letting go and coming of age. Special to The Forum
Chamber Six Media shoots the intro to "Drumbeat," a whimsical and thought-provoking music video about letting go and coming of age. Special to The Forum

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In the opening scene, an adorable little girl named Murphy Kuehn picks up a pair of crocheted dolls her mom is about to donate. Soon, the overarching narrative presents itself as the camera cuts to Yakowicz waking to the beat of his own song.

The track starts with the optimistic verse in a melodic rap, “I wanna walk real tall to the beat of my drum/ wanna sing more songs from the seat of my throne/ wanna feel connection even when I’m alone and wanna do all the things I said I would do when I was young.”

That last line opens up to a host of adult thoughts about self-confidence, changing hairlines and the stress of present-day.

Looking back to his years as a teenager when his music dreams began, the confidence Yakowicz musters up in his first music video started out in the basement of his Minnesota home.

At the start, he was writing what he describes as "joke raps" about friends for a while until he quit basketball, freeing up some time to take the craft more seriously.

Soon he was releasing mixtapes on SoundCloud under the alias “J-Yak,” leaving a degree of separation between this fringe interest and his real life.

It wasn’t until 2019 that he started masterminding his music projects more holistically, investing time and energy into releasing on mainstream platforms like Spotify and Apple Music and collaborating on projects like the music video for "Drumbeat," a song off his most recent EP, 2020's "Twenty Somethings."

“My best advice would be to find somebody that can hold your hand through it — both literally and figuratively,” Yakowicz says about the process behind producing a music video.

A crew of filmmakers led by Oscar De Leon of Chamber Six Media work outside in chilly conditions to shoot a music video for "Drumbeat" by local hip-hop artist Jacksun. Special to The Forum
A crew of filmmakers led by Oscar De Leon of Chamber Six Media work outside in chilly conditions to shoot a music video for "Drumbeat" by local hip-hop artist Jacksun. Special to The Forum

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The emerging artist teamed up with a local production company, Chamber Six Media, led by videographer, editor and writer Oscar De Leon, known simply as Guero.

“My own personal belief is that videos should build creatively on what’s been laid out,” De Leon says.

“Don’t be so literal, have fun with the images that the music inspires and run with that,” he adds.

As Yakowicz wakes in the music video, getting ready for the day, it’s clear that, through some magical connection to the doll in the girl's hands, every move he makes is dictated by the toddler’s playful actions.

Murphy Kuehn with the doll versions of hip-hop singers Huck. and Jacksun. Special to The Forum
Murphy Kuehn with the doll versions of hip-hop singers Huck. and Jacksun. Special to The Forum

Losing control of his body and letting go to this mystical connection, Yakowicz is pulled out the door and into the streets of Fargo, where he meets up with his friend and a fellow creative, Huck., a Minnesota-based hip-hop artist, producer and audio engineer featured on the track.

“We had a big rig coming out of the back of a pickup so there were quite a few eyes on us,” Yakowicz explains about what the production looked like.

As the little girl rolls around and flings the two nostalgia-inducing dolls back in her bedroom at home, both of the guys are helpless to the voodoo doll-like connection, rolling around in the snow and flying through the air.

“Somewhere along the way I remember telling myself, ‘Well, nobody you know will see you, so just go for it,’” Yakowicz says.

The opening scene to "Drumbeat," a locally produced music video, is set in a kid's room where crocheted dolls take on mystical control over artists Jacksun. and Huck. Special to The Forum
The opening scene to "Drumbeat," a locally produced music video, is set in a kid's room where crocheted dolls take on mystical control over artists Jacksun. and Huck. Special to The Forum

The dance moves they perform reflect the themes of the song in a lighthearted way. De Leon recruited the help of David Triptow, a choreographer he recently worked with on a short film he directed called "Wake," which premiered last year at the Rethink Dance Film Festival.

“For the choreography, I needed something fun and wild that would communicate the overall theme of 'letting go' or what happens when you let the world dictate your movement,” De Leon says.

As unique as the video they created, the music scene that brought these creatives together looks a little different than the crowd Yakowicz grew up around in Minnesota's Twin Cities. But that tight-knit community is one of the reasons he continues to put out music.

“Now everybody is only one mutual connection away, which makes it a more collaborative and supportive environment in my opinion,” says Yakowicz.

Those connections available at his fingertips continue to bear fruit, whether it's on his own albums or as a guest on friends’ projects, continuing to challenge and inspire the budding artist.

Find Yakowicz’s music by searching for "Jacksun." wherever you stream your music.

"Drumbeat" by Jacksun. featuring Huck. Special to The Forum
"Drumbeat" by Jacksun. featuring Huck. Special to The Forum

This article is part of a content partnership with The Arts Partnership, a nonprofit organization cultivating the arts in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo. For more information, visit http://theartspartnership.net.