There are two kinds of music videos – those with a plot, and those that make you think, “What the heck” halfway through the clip.

Local singer Leon Markcus, who was also a CLEO Bachelor this year, just released a music video, “Alive”, and it definitely belongs to the former category. In fact, his MV isn’t your typical boy-meets-girl kind of story. It addresses a social issue, one that often comes with a major stigma tagged to it – suicide.

The reason why the 21-year-old decided to tackle the theme was simple – it hits close to home. “The reason I decided to address suicide in my video is to bring about some awareness to a group of people who might not necessarily feel like they have the resources or support to tackle or help someone in dire need of support,” he explained in an interview. “I guess the theme spoke to me so much because of my own eating disorder and how it affects me.”

Leon Markcus, who battles anorexia nervosa, added, “I was trying to let the audience know that suicidal thoughts can literally happen to anyone and not just people with the stereotypical characteristics. Sometimes, people don’t show how much they hurt because they are afraid of rejection, afraid of misunderstanding and even afraid of being ridiculed by everyone.”

The video revolves around the story of two friends – a bullied student and a jock. While Leon Markcus plays the bullied student, he sought help from CLEO Bachelor Gary Lim to act as the jock.

He said, “I decided on Gary because firstly, he was one of the boys whom I really connected with during the competition, and he’s a great friend! Most importantly, he’s massive – like, really tall – and I thought that could really showcase the contrast between my skinny [character] and his jock-like [one].”

The friendship that you see in the music video is genuine – in real life, the pair have been good friends since CLEO Eligible Bachelors. Which is why you would expect the atmosphere on set to be fun – and it was. Leon Markcus recalled, “When we were filming the running scene, we had one shot where Gary and I were having a piggyback race. And while running, Gary dropped his partner on the ground and fell over. My shoe also split in half!”

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He added, “There was also another instance when the hotel manager came up to our room to tell us that we were making too much banging sounds. Awkward!”

The video project was supported by local government agency National Arts Council (NAC), which provided the grant. “It’s amazing and shocking how supportive they were of my project. They really taught me so much and offered me tips on what I could do to make the entire campaign better.”

He hopes “Alive”  can become an anthem for the public, but on a personal note, he reckons the song encapsulates the things he wished he would have done, and the courage he could have had to do them.

“The line, ‘Let’s get wrong, get reckless babe; let’s make it out strong like we can do no wrong’ spoke to me so much as I was never the adventurous one in my group – or at least never did the things I really desired – and sometimes, I regret that because I was afraid of failing or making people mad. Trying to live up to crazy expectations mattered to me too much.”

He added, “[The song] is about reflecting and reassuring myself that’s it’s all right to fall because we can eventually [get back up and] make it out alive. There’s honestly nothing to prove, only to share!”

Watch the music video below.

Trigger warning: The video contains themes of bullying and suicide.

If you know anyone who needs help, please contact Samaritans of Singapore at 1800 221 4444 (24-hour hotline) or email pat@sos.org.sg.
For emergency cases, please contact the Singapore Police Force at 999, or the Singapore Civil Defence Force at 995.

Images: Leon Markcus