Twenty two year old Wé McDonald is right at home in the spotlight – a budding star with screen presence, charisma to burn, and a billion-watt smile. She takes her inspiration from the likes of Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston, and takes her audience back to the golden age of Hollywood movie glamour. An innovative jazz vocalist, pop singer, and gifted songwriter, Wé McDonald has brought memorable performances to global audiences, but the most unique would have to be Rwanda with the Christian humanitarian agency World Vision, whose mission is to provide clean water to every person everywhere they have a presence, by 2030. Additionally, Wé has performed at high-profile events, such as The Trumpet Awards in 2018, and at legendary venues like The New York Philharmonic. She even played Young Ella in the Celebration of Ella Fitzgerald.
Another side to Wé McDonald, exists as well, and it’s reflected in the art she makes when she’s away from the watching eyes of the world. From Paterson, New Jersey, a working-class and intensely real town, that’s defiant but haunted by social problems too. Wé McDonald’s independently-released single, ‘Head Up High’, is a song that could well be about Paterson, and the video she’s paired it with could be about Paterson too.
‘Head Up High’ is a song about keeping your balance when everything in the world seems to be conspiring against you. McDonald is singing about real challenges that city dwellers face – and she’s not backing down from any of them.
The music video for ‘Head Up High’ retains that defiance. In the video, Wé McDonald’s plays a woman in trouble, none of which is her doing. She has an abusive boyfriend, a discriminatory police department, and the predatory hiring practices of an unethical workplace. As far too many young African American women know, none of this is fiction. By the end of the video, she is battered and bruised, but she’s still standing, and she’s still got her dignity and sense of self-possession.
Watch the video for ‘Head Up High’ below. Find out more about the amazing Wé McDonald and her music online on Twitter.