New Music Video Encourages Hope

Watch the new "Live" video here, and read the amazing story behind it below.

By Nancy Flory Published on November 15, 2021

• Since 9/11, more than 30,000 active duty personnel and veterans have died by suicide.

• The suicide rate among veterans is 52.3% greater than the non-veteran U.S. population.

• The suicide rate among non-veteran U.S. adults rose 33% in the last 20 years.

• Suicide is the second leading cause of death among all 10- to 24-year-olds.

Somber, gut-wrenching statistics like these prompted long-time songwriters Michael Anthony Curtis and Doug Stokes to write and record a song called “Live.” The song provides a glimpse into the minds of those struggling with suicidal thoughts, especially veterans, and offers hope for the future. 

“Live” was released on November 11, Veterans’ Day.

Curtis has written and produced songs for numerous Grammy award-winning artists such as Randy Travis, Blake Shelton, Josh Turner, Lee Ann Womack, Ricky Skaggs, Collin Raye, Shenandoah, The Martins, Gordon Mote and many others. Curtis wrote the lyrics for “Live,” while Stokes provided the music.

“Don’t Die for a Lie”

Curtis told The Stream that he knew that military suicides were on the rise, but didn’t know it had reached such epidemic levels. “I realized, once I started looking at the stats, ‘Hey, you know, how are they ever going to know Christ if they’re not living?'” He added:

The first thing is to bring hope where there’s hopelessness. Our motto … is ‘a new voice of truth for anyone in a hopeless moment of time.’ And that’s what it is. I mean … they’re being lied to in their minds, and [it] eventually gets to their heart and spirit. They have to get to a total hopeless place to do something like that. And if this song, video, anything we can do can stop that, and … their physical body and mind are saved … then hopefully they’ll come to know Christ and their eternity.

“Don’t Die for a Lie” is the song’s message and hook. “I’m going to keep saying that until I can’t say it anymore. Don’t die for a lie. … Live. Choose to live. It’s a choice.”

Curtis stresses that the lies come from Satan. “And when these lies come down from the father of lies, you know … it’s like a chain wrapping around your mind and your heart. It comes one link at a time. And then before you know it, we’re all wrapped up in bondage.” 

The song was God-ordained, said Curtis, coming together in about two hours. Then he sent the completed track to a friend, Bruce Jacobson, Executive Vice President of The Stream‘s parent ministry, LIFE Outreach International.

Jacobson contacted Curtis within days. “Bruce called me and he goes, ‘Do you trust me?’ And he said, ‘Would you be interested in letting [LIFE Today] produce the video?’ He said, ‘Man, God just gave me this download.’ He went on to explain the story board.” Curtis became very emotional. “I was so taken back. … [I]t was all God.”

A Vision of Hope

Jacobson told The Stream that when he heard the song, “I just couldn’t shake it.” He began thinking about where the United States is as a country, the pandemic, mental health issues during the pandemic and how it’s been a kind of tipping point for a lot of people. “So, I knew … there was something more to this than just a nice catchy song with a good message.”

Just like when Curtis wrote the song, Jacobson had what he called a “download” for the video. “The whole video just came in my mind almost nonstop, which is rare. … I could just see the video in my head as I storyboarded it and how it would come together.” Jacobson added, “Here at Life Today we’re all about hope. And we certainly know Who the Author of hope is.” 

I just thought this could have a huge impact. And so, just wanted to bring it to life, so to speak, more than just the coupling of short film with the music, with the idea of saving lives and making people more aware that they have purpose.

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The message resonated with the cast. Each of the adults has themselves been impacted by depression, mental health issues or suicide and now are taking part in providing hope for others. The lead character, Jay Johnson, who plays a veteran, is himself a 20-year veteran of the Army. When Jacobson called to offer Johnson the part, Jacobson shared that he felt God had led him to ask. Johnson told him, “Let me confirm something for you. This is a God thing because I am that man. I am that man.” Jacobson was touched. “There is a story behind the story where God’s been moving.”

Help Spread the Message

“Live” songwriter Curtis is asking viewers to get involved with spreading the message of hope. “We wanna be that voice that’s banging the gong, that’s shouting from the rafters, but it all boils back down to people are going to have to do things on a grassroots level,” said Curtis. “And what I hope they do is they hear the song or they see the video and they’ll share, share, share. That way we’re going to get the message spread. And hopefully, like I said, if it saves one today, it saves one.”

Jacobson agreed. “What I would love to see happen is it organically began to spread a message of hope and help for those that are struggling. So if one life could be saved through watching the video and listening to the song then it was all worth it.”


Nancy Flory, Ph.D., is an associate editor at The Stream. You can follow her @NancyFlory3, and follow The Stream @Streamdotorg.

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