Words by Keane Fletcher
As promised last week, Claira J has just unveiled the new music video for her debut single 'Letting Go' and can we just take a moment to say that it's a stunner! Directed by Visible Studios' Nick Kozakis & Liam Kelly of 'Dance Monkey' (Tones & I) fame, the video is a startlingly stripped-back conceptual piece that sees Claira J literally rising from the ashes, filmed late last year in the golden gaps between the country's various lockdowns. Once the track had finished being recorded, 'it was very clear to me that I was going shoot a video,' says CJ. 'I just didn’t know what, where, when or how.'
Eschewing any traditional narrative, the video sees a clay-covered-Claira J wandering through a darkened space, flame-coloured wings slowly emerging from her back as she dances and writhes her way across a dust-ridden landscape, a visual representation, she says, of the internal struggle she faced during her breakdown.
When you are going through anything to do with mental health [...] it’s such an internal experience. There was no other way for me to convey what I had gone through in my own mental/physical breakdown than to creatively express it through visuals and movement.
Far from being a treatise on the futility of depression however, the video makes a point of highlighting the way darkened emotional states are an unavoidable part of being human, primarily through its use of ash and fire. 'I made a very clear decision,' says CJ, 'to show the polarity between light and the dark, beauty and decay, fire and ash: our human yin and yang. We are always ever changing, nothing is every permanent and we are often being built up and torn down throughout our life time.'
Shot over two 12-hour days, at least 4-hours of which were spent in hair and makeup, the video has been a labour of love for CJ, who first worked out the visuals for the piece via her Pinterest board, before bringing her concept to Kozakis and the team at Visible Studios.
Visible have been absolutely incredible to work with especially with all the stops and starts of the pandemic...The process from initial conception to final edit has been seamless and I’m so proud of the art that we have created together. It was a very collaborative process.
On achieving her clay-covered effect, CJ says, it was 'the strangest feeling'.
My incredible makeup and special effects artist Liz Sharp [created] all the moulds that were used in the film...I spent the whole day being painted and repainted, and dried with a hairdryer...It was also incredibly difficult to move my mouth the way I normally would when speaking or singing as the clay was so caked on and we didn’t want it cracking off my face too much for the closeups.
Like any good music video, the visuals in 'Letting Go' help to deepen and expand the song's message of self-empowerment, one CJ hopes can go some way to helping others 'who have been affected by adversities in life, who might lack self belief, [who are] struggling with their own mental health or who just need a voice that's a little louder than their own to help get them through whatever they might be dealing with.'
With her star most definitely on the rise CJ says the whole journey has been one of the most surreal experiences she's ever had:
I’m not sure people realise just how much goes into releasing music especially as an independent artist...I definitely feel like a massive weight has been lifted off my shoulders as I’ve finally set this track free and given myself some serious closure on that chapter of my life. It really was a moment of letting go.
With that in mind, and without any further ado, allow us to present the video for Claira J's 'Letting Go'. Check it out below!
Thanks for stopping by Hipland!