Alan Scott, a Laurel musician, released a video for his song "You Only See Me When I'm Gone" and a video featuring Eric Garner's mother, Gwen Carr.
After the Charleston, S.C., mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church left nine dead last year, Alan Scott needed an outlet for his pain.
"My father was a reverend," Scott, a singer-songwriter and music teacher living in Laurel, said on the phone Thursday. "Though I'm not a particularly religious person, I felt like they came into my father's house in a sense."
Channeling his hurt, Scott wrote "You Only See Me When I'm Gone," a pop-rock track that finds the 52-year-old singing, "You're looking at the outline of a shape / the color of a future when it fades / you only see me when I'm gone." Since its release last month, the video has more than 8,200 shares and 405,000 views on Facebook. (The song is available on iTunes here.)
Scott is thrilled the video has been shared so much, but said he initially wrote it to make himself feel better.
"I could not contain the pain of this tragedy," Scott, a Washington native, said. "My heart was filled with sadness for a lot of reasons and a lot of families."
Scott released a music video for the song on July 17, the two-year anniversary of the death of Eric Garner, the New Yorker who died in 2014 after a police officer put him in a chokehold. Lenny Bass, the video's director, met Garner's mother, Gwen Carr, through a mutual acquaintance, which led to Carr filming the introduction to the video, Scott said.
"I feel particularly honored about that because I feel like I gave her a chance to honor her son's legacy," Scott said.
Shot on Staten Island, N.Y., the video opens with Carr in a living room, looking at baby photographs of her son and reading a Mother's Day card he gave her.
"He considered everyone to be his friend," Carr says in the video, wiping away a tear.
The goal of the song and video is to have people put their defenses down and be more open-minded to different perspectives, Scott said.
"What I hoped to do was use the unique power I think the arts have to allow people to hear with a different set of ears and see with a different set of eyes," he said. "I hope to grow empathy and just humanize what's going on when these things happen."
The song and its emotional clip have resonated with many who see it, especially women, he said.
"I think mothers in particular are moved in a way by this video that's very unique," Scott said. "They relate to Mrs. Carr."
Scott will perform at the Waterfront Hotel in Fells Point on Aug. 31 from 10 p.m.-1 a.m.