Local vocal performer Angelica Willey’s debut record is a letter of affection to both Kansas City and faith.
“Happy Birthday Jesus,” a song written by the singer’s 76-year-old father and Kansas City, North, resident Gerry Willey, is out now on iTunes. The accompanying video is on YouTube.
The song premiered with a music video that shows the 24-year-old singer and Gladstone resident performing the song in several iconic Kansas City locations, such as Crown Center.
The single was produced by Gerry Willey and released under his record label YHWH Records.
“The format of the song is that it is a musical Christmas card,” Gerry Willey said. “We thought, ‘Where should we go (for the video)? Down to Hallmark where they make the Christmas cards.’”
After a soft, slow entry narrated by loose piano notes, the younger Willey — performing under her stage name Angelica Lei Aloha — sings a song of mirth and seasonal cheer to a jazzy arrangement. A duet of piano and guitar leans lightly on the upbeat.
The song, “Happy Birthday Jesus,” was written to mark the occasion of the elder Willey’s conversion to evangelical Christianity on April 4, 1977. Since then, he has been an active evangelical songwriter, and an ordained faith leader.
Gerry Willey has lived in Kansas City for 15 years after years in LA and Hawaii, and the video was an homage to his adopted home.
“I am a major Kansas Citian to the max,” Willey said. “I always say, pound for pound, the Midwest is the best place to raise your kids.”
For his daughter, the music video is an expression of Kansas City’s rising star. While shooting a scene in front of the Mayor’s Christmas Tree in Crown Center, the younger Willey reported meeting journalists on assignment from the London-based public broadcast outlet British Broadcasting Corp.
“I feel like downtown Kansas City is becoming so much. It’s up-and-coming,” she said.
The singer will release another single soon after Christmas.
To hear the video, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gArFyOTSmM&feature=youtube