Hayley Young has been telling stories with a camera for twenty years. As an editorial photographer, she has photographed thousands of characters from various walks of life. Invited into their private residences, offices, factories and creative spaces, she is conditioned to find the magic in the details of place and circumstance. Her approach to storytelling is observant, curious and patient. Known widely for her single-take music videos, Young puts much of her creative energy in front of every story she directs. Her vision is what steers her direction. Knowing what she wants to see while allowing room for her vision to evolve as she goes, Young’s work is intentional yet, light-handed. She loves color, movement and human perplexity. Always a viewer before a director, Young consults her inner 8-year-old with every idea she brings to the table.
Joshua Roman and I met in 2008 when I was in commercial photography school and working as the staff photographer for Sound Magazine, a music publication in Seattle, Washington. Joshua had just announced his departure from the Seattle Symphony, a position he had accepted just two years prior. He was the youngest principal cellist in the Symphony’s history, and he was leaving his historic role to pursue the rapidly growing career that would pull him away from us. I was assigned to photograph him for a feature story we were doing on his decision to leave.
Before he left, Joshua agreed to let me follow him around to document his life for a photojournalism project I had been assigned for school. We were both in our early 20s and during the two weeks I spent at his side, I gained an intimate look into his parallel universe as a classical musician. While I was frequenting dive bars and waiting tables at the restaurant across from Benaroya Hall, Joshua was performing in that very hall, premiering orchestras and introducing world-famous composers to thousands of people. I will never forget the time I saw inside his apartment, furnished with only a mattress, a cello case and piles of sheet music scattered across the floor.
I found him fascinating to say the least. We became quick friends. Over the years, I have continued to be blown away by his many accomplishments and his surreal lifestyle of flying around the world to share his renowned talent.
Joshua’s days of traveling to perform for large audiences came to an abrupt halt in March of 2020.
In August of 2020, I received a message from Joshua. Having grown restless with the lockdown, Joshua packed his belongings and took to his car. He was heading back to the west coast from his solo road trip across the country. The message was simple. A Soundcloud link to a piece of music he had just written. I hesitated to open the link as I lay in bed (it was late, nearly midnight). But something inside me said, “grab your headphones and listen to this”.
The experience that I felt through those headphones is the inspiration for this film.
“Drive” is a force of sound that broke me down to tears. I cried for its beauty and for its empathy. Less of a classical music fan and more of an indie rock/pop/blues follower myself, I found “Drive” to be the perfect gateway drug into the world of Joshua’s music at a time when I needed the catharsis it provided even more deeply than I realized.
This film is an offering to those like me, who turn to music for relief, who find peace in the sounds of melody.
Ryan Hadlock is the producer that perfectly transcribed these sounds into the environment he and Joshua recorded it in.
Bear Creek Studio is a hidden gem in Seattle’s music world. Home to many Grammy award-winning recordings, the space was inviting and the perfect home for this project to take flight.
In a year filled with anxiety and fear, “Drive” was a silver lining that kept each of us focused on what is still to come. We are thrilled to share this with anyone who needs to feel the hope that we felt when producing it.