“Wake Me Up” is a song that all of my indoor cycling class instructors at the gym can’t get enough of. Eventually, the song became an earworm and I had to look it up on YouTube. Not surprisingly, it’s a monster club hit by the Swedish electronic dance music giant, Avicii.
The video for it follows a model-like girl who seems to live a not-so-easy life somewhere in rural America, but ends up happy because she rides a horse to an Avicii concert. (It’s as pretty as a fashion magazine spread.)
But the lyrics are deeper than that. And though Avicii made the song a global hit with his EDM production skills, I had to know about the man behind the voice. That’s where the story gets more interesting, as far as I’m concerned.
The vocalist (who is listed as a co-writer the Avicii track) is Aloe Blacc, a singer, songwriter, rapper, and musician from Southern California best known for his single, “I Need A Dollar,” from the short-lived HBO comedy-drama series, “How to Make it in America.”
Turns out Blacc, real name Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III, was born to Panamanian parents and that may explain why he recorded a video for the alternate version (acoustic country and folk) of “Wake Me Up.”
Directed by Alex Rivera from the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), an advocacy organization that advocates for day laborers and is staunchly against President Obama’s deportation policies, the video features undocumented immigrants, including DREAMer Hareth Andrade-Ayala, who arrived in America when her father Mario came to the United States in 2004 seeking a brighter future for his family. Mario is now facing deportation.
The song’s poignant lyrics are perfect for what Adrade-Ayala, and millions of other youth affected by the threat of deportation, must be feeling.
They tell me I’m too young to understand
They say I’m caught up in a dream
Well life will pass me by if I don’t open up my eyes
Well that’s fine by me
So wake me up when it’s all over
When I’m wiser and I’m older
All this time I was finding myself
And I didn’t know I was lost
Watch the video below and read more about the director’s thought process behind the video via Buzzfeed.