Poor Boy

In the final verse of his latest single, Sheldon Universe makes a noteworthy confession. Even if he had a million dollars, he tells us, he’d still be the “Poor Boy.” It’s a statement of frustration and an acknowledgment of the brutal difficulty of social mobility. It’s also a bit of a boast. The Toronto-based Goan-Canadian pop singer is telling listeners that no matter what happens to him, he’ll retain the qualities associated with poor kids: humility, persistence, drive, and an unquenchable thirst for achievement.

All that ambition comes through brilliantly in the wildly catchy, passionately performed, stubbornly unique “Poor Boy” — a summer anthem for a season spent on the grind and an electropop anthem with the soul of the blues. In two tight verses and one indelible chorus, Sheldon Universe has given us a character sketch with terrestrial concerns and cosmic implications. The narrator looks longingly at the houses of the rich and wonders how the inhabitants got their money; he sings about his dedication to music and his past life as a hardworking percussionist; he pledges his fidelity to a girl who, he believes, deserves more than he can give. The implication is clear: if a man this talented can’t get ahead, what hope do the rest of us have?

He’s exaggerating a little. Though he sings, “I should have made it by now,” Sheldon Universe has plenty to crow about. He’s worked extensively with the internationally popular Indian-Canadian pop singer and rapper AP Dhillon, performed with Manic Drive, and served as the drummer for the Toronto Raptors. His production company has become a staple of the music scene north of the border, where he’s been the driving force behind shows and festivals of all kinds. He just hasn’t had a massive hit yet, but that’s likely to change at any moment.

Marco Veltri’s bright, energetic, and offbeat clip for “Poor Boy” makes the star’s hunger for achievement manifest through a gripping visual metaphor. The director shoots Sheldon Universe alongside the trappings of wealth: mansions, expensive cars, and beautiful women. But the soul of the clip is a gently choreographed sequence performed by four dancers wearing mask replicas of Sheldon Universe’s face. They’re otherwise quite distinct — four men with different body types in casual business dress. The effect is intentionally destabilizing and calls into question the flimsiness of identity in the corporate world. It’s a commentary on the masks we all must wear to climb the ladder and a visual expression of the singer’s lament about getting “lost in the crowd.” He’s determined to stand out. Don’t bet against him.

  • Marco Veltri
    Drowning (2020), Where's My Sister (2016), Words To Remember (2013), Measuring Tape Girl (2010), Understanding the Early Years (2010), A Day in the Life (2009), Politics of Fear (2008)
  • Sheldon De Souza
  • Sheldon De Souza
  • Karina Sulyak
    Key Cast
  • Troy Sexton
    Key Cast
    Key Parties (2022), Angel with a Kick (2005), Lianne (stunt coordinator)
  • Project Type:
    Music Video
  • Runtime:
    3 minutes 8 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    August 1, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    20,000 USD
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Director Biography - Marco Veltri

Pasquale Marco Veltri is an award-winning Canadian writer, filmmaker, and photographer. His feature film, Drowning, is available on Apple TV, Google Play & Amazon Prime. Veltri won the Chris Award for Best Narrative Film at the Columbus International Film and Video Festival for Words to Remember. Measuring Tape Girl was screened at the Cannes Film Festival and the Montreal World Film Festival. His other works include creating comic books such as Painting My Life, Dimensional, and the upcoming Erica Prime.

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