Mitchell Leonard is a Brooklyn-based pianist, composer, and songwriter. His childhood comprised afternoons at the piano learning Gershwin preludes, and late nights quietly padding out of his room to listen to his father play drums with his jazz combo. He studied jazz and classical composition and performance all throughout his youth. Since then, he has recorded several of his own works, played on countless others, and toured extensively throughout the United States, performing at venues from the Troubadour in Los Angeles to New York’s Webster Hall.
For over twenty years, Haisi Hu has been making and teaching animation. She dedicates her life to preserving and expanding traditional techniques, such as claymation and cell animation.
Come Downstairs, a video by the duo, boasts breathtaking beauty and a myriad of emotions. Led by a piano-jazz ballad and the moving vocals of Mitchell Leonard, the music is brought to life in an ethereal other-world full of mysterious creatures and mirages, designed by Haisi Hu.
The video took over a year to produce, with a number of challenges for the team. “It’s been an intensive, elaborate process, with many technical and conceptual obstacles to overcome,” said Hu. From deadlines to budgetary restrictions and unexpected complications, the process was laborious—involving over 100 pounds of clay, and over 2000 cells of hand-drawn animation.
The music of was recorded in part by Mitchell Leonard’s good friend and songwriting partner John Creasey, who passed away in early 2016; the video is dedicated to him. Leonard shared, “It seemed only right to dedicate this piece to John. He was an extreme believer in the overwhelming power that music has in exploring spirituality. He loved the more mysterious and elusive elements of the art world, those that were the hardest to define with language.”
The single “Come Downstairs” is available for purchase now, with the video streaming above.