Sheku: The New Album

Launch campaign for the UK’s most successful classical album release of the last 30 years


Sheku: 2020 album launch campaign.


Decca Records


Concept, Storyboarding, Creative Direction, Content Creation (Film and Still photography). Co-directed with John Davis @ Post-Production: Vincent London

Sheku Kanneh-Mason is many things. A child musical prodigy who has grown into one of classical music's brightest stars. A young black man succeeding in a genre dominated by white musicians. An MBE at 21. A classical cellist, who also peppers his albums with interpretations of contemporary songs by artists like Bob Marley and Leonard Cohen.  

As a result, Sheku is getting attention both from traditional classical music fans and also inspiring a younger audience to get interested in the genre.   


Decca wanted something that engaged the traditional classical audience but also needed it to be credible with the younger ‘streaming generation’ of Sheku fans.

They wanted something completely different to any other classical music video. Which brought Sheku’s musicianship to the fore, highlighting technique, dedication and focus - all the things which make him such a compelling and credible musician. 


We watched a ton of classical music videos and found some common themes…

Artists were often recorded from a distance. Leaving the viewer feeling removed from the action. They tended to look stiff and dated. And, the performances often looked mimed.

For Sheku, we wanted to get closer to the performance to reveal nuances in his technique and craftsmanship and that you don't see from a distance. Working with long time collaborator and friend of Black Paint John Davis on the concept, film and still photography, the idea was to immerse the audience in the performance and showcase his passion - a man lost in his music.

He played live on every take, encouraged to treat it like a performance.

We shot with old anamorphic lenses to lend it a timeless, cinematic feel. Paired with a simple set and dramatic lighting to accentuate light and shadow and a colour scheme that gave the work a fresh, modern look.


We wanted to bring everything in closer and immerse the audience in Sheku's performance

TV, Online and Out of Home

A more modern approach


Video: 30 second TV, 60 second online. Social Content Photography: Online. Out of Home (U.K)




online video


Released in January 2020, the album made chart history

Sheku became the first classical instrumentalist in over 30 years to make the top 10 and the first cellist in history to land a place in the UK official album chart Top 10.  His album entered the official UK album charts at number 8 and putting Sheku in the company of ‘pop’ artists like Stormzy and Selena Gomez.


Black Paint’s images and video have captured the true essence and power of Sheku’s talent, and celebrate the relationship he has with his cello. They have become a central piece of content for our campaign, as they show classical music in a non-traditional way whilst staying true to its heart, which is exactly what Sheku stands for.


Knowledge and insight

Classical music elitism

Read more on this topic to understand why as well as making incredible music, Sheku is helping to inspire new audiences to discover the genre and learn to play the cello

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