Intelligent Music Project II, with Joseph Williams, Simon Phillips and John Lawton (2014): Something Else! exclusive premiere

An all-star crew featuring members of Toto and Uriah Heep has been assembled to help bring Milen Vrabevski’s sun-flecked message of positivity to a broader English-speaking audience. Here’s an exclusive video premiere of the song “Happiness” featuring Simon Phillips, Joseph Williams and John Lawton.

Vrabevski earlier issued The Power of the Mind as the Intelligent Music Project in his native Bulgarian; Lawton later worked on a 2012 English reinterpretation. With the addition of Phillips and Williams, it’s been redubbed the Intelligent Music Project II. “Happiness” is part of their new My Kind O’ Lovin'” album, a canny mixture of rock, prog and fusion.

For Vrabevski, the song’s message is simple — whatever the language: “We should learn to live for each other in order to be happy. This is the main predisposition for a successful, meaningful life. Especially provided we’ve got, for example, a common source of energy — the sun, it is even more essential to understand that. If it’s gone, we’re all gone. This why we should care about our environment too, which is included in our message.”

Williams handles lead vocals while Lawton provides a counterpoint second voice, even as Phillips constructs a series of brilliantly layered cadences. Williams and Phillips, of course, both have Toto connections. Williams is in his second stint as the band’s frontman, having served from 1986-89 and then again since 2010. Phillips was Toto’s second drummer, working with them from 1992 until earlier this year when he left to pursue a solo career. They’re both featured on Toto’s new hit concert project, Live in Poland. Lawton is best known as a member of Uriah Heep over three studio albums from 1976-79.

Vrabevski’s video, overseen by Georgi Toshev, Valentina Ganeva and Emil Marianov in Los Angeles, London and Sofia, also brings together a pair of actresses to illustrate a larger point, he says. “The easiest way God shows us how important it is to live for the sake of others is having kids,” Vrabevski says. “And especially the twins are the perfect example of how people might need each other and be happy about it.”

Jimmy Nelson

Jimmy Nelson

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Jimmy Nelson