The contemporary Christian vocal group known as SPARK is comprised of members Ryan Johnson, Melissa Whitehead, Angelina Whitehead, Camille Butler Tullis, Greg Wright, and Jaxon Moffitt. Noelle Bybee, a former contestant on NBC’s The Voice, was a former member of the group and is now pursuing her solo career. All group members come from various areas across the Wasatch Front and all are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Based in Utah County, SPARK is making an indelible impact on the world with their dynamic sound that is upbeat, uplifting, and inspirational, thus creating a movement for all ages to “rise up in faith and be a light to the world.” Their inspirational and danceable music appeals to audiences of various faiths, including members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Through their live performances, YouTube channel, and other social media platforms like Spotify, Facebook, and Instagram the group is able to deliver a clear and concise message that lasting joy comes from following the Savior.
On 4 October 2019, SPARK released a new music video, which is a cover of “Let Go” written by Aodhan King, Ben Tan, and Laura Toggs of Hillsong Young & Free, a contemporary worship music group from Sydney, Australia. In the free-spirited video, the message that SPARK conveys is that letting go and allowing God to have influence in our lives brings us freedom – freedom that comes from knowing that our lives are in alignment with God’s will. That freedom brings with it a true and everlasting joy. The song is also a living testament to the knowledge that Jesus Christ is the key to letting go of the world and its troubles, including our sins and suffering. Peace and comfort comes from knowing and acting on the belief that the Savior, Jesus Christ is the one and only way to salvation and lasting happiness.
Ryan Johnson, the soloist in the video, chose “Let Go” because of its inspiring message and fun dance beat. His smooth vocals proved to be a perfect fit for the cover and also helped him win three major vocal competitions in Utah, including the 2019 Sing! Utah Vocal Competition. Ryan is also the lead singer for his family cover band Amiron Village. In the video, Camille Tullis joins Ryan for the duet in which “she effortlessly sells the message of the song with her pure voice and sincerity.”
One way that “letting go” is depicted in this video is by inviting random strangers to dance. Without hesitation, those who were invited to dance did so without any rehearsal as the camera started filming. The dancers all had great moves and were excited to be a part of the video. Two young boys (twins) watched for a while, and then with their parents permission, asked to dance for the camera. The dancing turned out to be everyone’s favorite part of the video.
The “Let Go” music video was filmed in the Los Angeles, California area. Los Angeles was not necessarily the group’s first choice of location for a music video. However, Jaxon Moffitt had moved to Irvine, California, for a summer internship, so filming in Los Angeles was the only viable option to include him as part of the project. As it turned out, Los Angeles provided the perfect backdrop for the video.
There are a plethora of Instagram-able and video-worthy sights in L.A., however, two iconic religious symbols are featured in the video. First is an “Angel Wing” Mural. The mural is a part of The Global Angel Wings Project created by Colette Miller in 2012 in the streets of Los Angeles, the City of Angels. The murals were painted to remind humanity that “we are the angels of the earth.” They are human-sized, interactive, public art; wings that people take photos with and thus, become part of the artwork. Second is the iconic neon “Jesus Saves” sign in downtown L.A., which has a lot of history. The neon sign was once part of the Church of the Open Door and was later moved to the United Artists Theater. Now, the building that the sign sits on houses one of the trendiest hotels in downtown Los Angeles, The Ace Hotel. According to Jeff Grenell, the founder of ythology, an organization that “exists to educate, resource, and inspire youth and to train youth leaders to prepare the NextGen to lead in the Church and the world,” the sign is a reminder of the mission of Jesus Christ, with a message for the ages.
A special shout out goes to Nick Sales, the owner of Aevium Films, who directed, filmed, and edited the video, and also to McKay Crockett, director and producer for BYU Vocal Point, who engineered the vocals and recruited Ed Boyer (of Pentatonix fame) to mix and master the project.
SPARK was formed in the fall of 2016 with Sherri Whitehead as the managing director and producer, and her two daughters, Melissa and Angelina, as group members and co-producers. Prior to starting the group, the Whiteheads co-produced the Vocal Sport Competition at The Covey Center in Provo for five years and sent many singers to private auditions for NBC’s The Voice and other television talent shows. Five of those singers appeared on NBC’s The Voice.
According to their official website, “SPARK mixes inspirational music with pop styling for a sound that’s uplifting and energizing.” The songs that they sing about life, love, and light is a testimony of their faith and steadfast devotion to their Savior, Jesus Christ. Their flame has been ignited and is burning brightly. They are setting the world on fire with music that is uplifting and delivers a positive message to the listening audience.