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Zelda Williams Tackles Addiction in Directorial Debut of JoJo's Emotional New Music Video

by Sophie Schillaci 10:53 AM PST, January 08, 2016
Photo: Getty Images

Zelda Williams and JoJo are channeling their pain into art.

The singer's powerful new song, "Save My Soul," focuses on the struggles of addiction and is meant as a tribute to JoJo's late father, Joel Levesque, on what would have been his 61st birthday. When it came time to pick a director for the video, JoJo called on a close friend to make her directorial debut.

WATCH: Zelda Williams Says There's 'No Point Blaming Anyone' for Her Father's Death 

"To say the 'Save My Soul' video means a lot to me would be an understatement of stupendous proportions," Zelda, the 26-year-old daughter of Robin Williams, said in a press release. "It's not even our shared experiences with addiction and loved ones who suffered from them, though that is the very real inspiration behind this song and video. In the end, the thing I am most grateful for is the trust Jo had in me to help her tell a story I know has been percolating in her for a very, very long time.

"'Save My Soul' is Jo's very real, very honest ode to addiction, and in her expressing her truth," Zelda continued. "I wanted to give others the opportunity to do the same."

The result: heart-wrenching. See the video below.

WATCH: JoJo Admits Her 2000 Hits 'Take On a New Meaning' Today

"I wanted to convey the feeling of powerlessness I've felt in my life in an uncomplicated way and show a range of what it might look like for others who’ve been there," JoJo said in a statement. The 25-year-old lost her father less than two months ago, in November of 2015.

"We filmed this video about a month before my father lost his decades long battle with addiction. His death honestly felt like it came out of nowhere…and yet I had been mourning him for years…if that makes any sense," JoJo wrote on Instagram. "I know all too well from seeing it around me that the fight is not easy. It's every day. All consuming. I'm not mad at my dad. I love him and I'm sad. He is my greatest heartbreak. This song, which had always been personal to me, takes on even deeper meaning now."

“Save My Soul” is about addiction. Of all kinds. I wanted to convey the feeling of powerlessness I've felt in my life in an uncomplicated way and show a range of what it might look like for others who've been there. Working with one of my best friends, Zelda Williams (director of SMS), was a highlight of my 2015. We'd been talking about working together for like 10 years! Because of the content of the song and the way it touched us both, “Save My Soul” felt like the natural place for us to finally collaborate. A group of us young, crazy, creatives drove out to the magical desert of Joshua Tree and got naked - most of us emotionally, and a few literally. It was a safe space to be vulnerable and free from judgment and the need to be/ look/ act "perfect". Everyone who participated connected to the song and brought their truth to the table. We filmed this video about a month before my father lost his decades long battle with addiction. His death honestly felt like it came out of nowhere…and yet I had been mourning him for years…if that makes any sense. I know all too well from seeing it around me that the fight is not easy. It's every day. All consuming. I'm not mad at my dad. I love him and I'm sad. He is my greatest heartbreak. This song, which had always been personal to me, takes on even deeper meaning now. "I try to run but it hurts every time I try... Lord I try and I can't say no." Makes me think of the universal struggle of seeking victory over the feeling of powerlessness to a situation, a lover, a drug. Losing my father at the end of last year and knowing the propensity for addiction of all kinds that runs deep in my blood from both sides makes it next-level important for me to LIVE - not just be alive, but THRIVE in his honor. I can do this. And so can you. If you're struggling, believe the only way OUT is THROUGH. Keep going. Love, Jo. P.S. Thank you to the beautiful crazies who dedicated their time and energy to come together and make this video possible. It wouldn't have happened without you.

A photo posted by JoJo (@iamjojo) on

NEWS: See JoJo's Emotional Tribute to Her Late Father 

Zelda's famous father died of suicide at age 63 in August of 2014. The comedian battled severe depression most of his life.

"For those suffering from depression, I know how dark and endless that tunnel can feel, but if happiness seems impossible to find, please hold on to the possibility of hope, faint though it may be," Zelda shared on Instagram on the one-year anniversary of her father's death. "Because I promise you, there're enough nights under the same yellow moon for all of us to share, no matter how or when you find your way there."

READ: Zelda Williams Shares Hopeful Message Message One Year After Robin Williams' Death 

Since staging a long-delayed return to the spotlight last year, JoJo continues to show off a jaw-dropping range of musical talent. ET was with the 25-year-old on the set of her "When Love Hurts" video in September. See what she said about performing her 2000 hits "Leave (Get Out)" and "Too Little Too Late" today, and what we can expect from her next full-length album in the player below.

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