Michael McArthur and Jennifer Smurr

Just five days after the horrific Pulse killings in Orlando, Lakeland singer-songwriter Michael McArthur released “Love Wins,” a music video that, for many online viewers, crystalizes the unity message that emerged from the tragedy.

McAthur wrote the song last summer after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry, and he recorded it in Nashville just a few weeks ago.

He planned to eventually make a video and release it. Those plans swung into high gear after 49 people were killed at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub last Sunday.

“I thought it important to release the song with poignant imagery,” he said, so he and his wife, Jennifer Smurr, traveled to Monday’s vigil in Orlando with videographer Dan Austin. Sally Ibarra shot video at a simultaneous vigil in Lakeland.

“We also requested and received photos from all over the world of people taking part in the vigils in their towns,” McArthur said.

A lot happened over the next three-and-a-half days: “It was a crazy week.  A lot of people were a part of making this happen in a short time.”

As Austin edited the films and photos he collected, producer Jon Santana worked long hours to finish the final mix by 1 a.m. Friday. Later that morning, Ryan Smith mastered the song at at Sterling Sound in New York, bumping it ahead of other projects so the video could be released that day.

In Lakeland, McArthur and Austin put final touches on the video, and released it at 2:36 p.m.

In its first two days online, the video has been viewed 27,000 times, shared by 659 people and liked by 460. The word “beautiful” appears in dozens of the comments made on Facebook.

McArthur is gratified by the response. “It’s about taking part in something that’s bigger than all of us.  It’s about making this world a better place, even if only a little,” he said. “My hope is that people are touched by this as much as I have been.”

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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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1 Comment

  1. This was moving & inspiring the world needed it and much more of it. Thank you ! It touched me! I saw a small portion on the news and went and looked it up and I listened to it 3 times in a row. Then I liked it and I requested everyone who sees my Facebook page to watch it and share it with the world. Thank you it has healing powers and the ability to bring positive change to the world and everyone who listens to it. God Bless! No words can say how I truly feel right now after listening to it.

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