I made my first video, i’m humbled and happy.
We went to a carnival, i talked to kids. They danced while I sang my song.
Share it if you know a person that would enjoy it.
If you’d like to know more, here’s some honesty:
My First Video
Having my face all over a video was tough for me. I still don’t know how I feel about being on the internet. What does it all mean, y’all. Why should I be looking into your eyes while singing about a moment of despair that i turned into art?
Writing music serves as a form of therapy for me — and it’s also fun — and sharing music taps into my desire to connect with people; with you. In this video I assumed the role of a guide as a means of exploring a new place: a traveling carnival in the Pine Barrens of Hammonton, NJ. We shot purposefully without knowing much about the place (thanks google), and used the cameras as an excuse to talk to people. KOOL FACT: cameras can legitimize you and allow you to slip into conversation with strangers at carnivals.
And so Peter English — director and the coolest kid-dad I know — picked me up on day 1 of the shoot and boom, we were gone. I didn’t share it then, but it felt quite strange to be sitting in a car knowing I was about to be walking around at a carnival while singing to zero music in front of a bunch of shiny, slippery funnel cakes. I mean what are carnivals?! It’s fun, but it’s also the worst food: I call it ~gross delicious~. It’s beautiful lights surrounding bouncy children that are either 1. bummed about losing some game 2. in a state of baroque-esque ecstasy, getting high on sugar and bumper cars. It’s where immediate gratification meets nostalgia. It’s literally the only place you will find those rasta banana toys (are those culturally insensitive?). And what about carnies…. That’s a whole book and we only have time for an essay. And then we arrived. I was still unsure about it all, but I went into the scene like I usually do when entering ‘art mode’: with just a bit more excitement than fear.
Once we got there everything started to solidify: I knew why I was there, I was there to learn about the people and to try and humbly tell their story. My first conversation happened while I was waiting for the crew to scout the first location. I was standing by myself next to a motorcycle that was being raffled off for charity. I was smiling like a goofball and standing, which is something I try and practice when I’m by myself. After two minutes of this behavior a man came up to me and said:
“would you like to enter a raffle to win this motorcycle?”
I told him that “that’s cool” but “I don’t need a motorcycle.”
He chuckled and said that I “could sell it for a lot of money!”
I flashed a smile and said “does money mean happiness?” (sometimes I just go for it, y’all).
His face turned serious and he hurriedly stated that “No, never. It’s a popular myth perpetuated in our society.”
I was like — pause — who are you “let’s talk more” I grinned.
We ended up talking for 20 minutes about documentaries we both like, his best friend’s job (as an NSA agent- how topical !), and the town people. He told me that there’s an annual 2 day fest in town called SADfest that was started by two teenagers with a desire to bring awareness to Suicide, Addiction & Depression (SAD). Apparently bands play and people get to share painful experiences in a safe space. Wow, Hammonton, I already like you so much. He also pointed out the diversity of the town with a recent large influx of Haitians and Mexicans. The town is still mostly Italian, with the 2nd-highest percentage of Italians in any municipality in the United States. Cool facts are fun, but it was time to sing in front of a Ferris wheel, so I thanked my new best friend and started walking to the first location.
The rest of the shoot was truly beautiful. I felt vulnerable in that good way, singing my soul into the ether, and I guess it worked; kids, older men and women, carnies & tiny babies all showed love by allowing us to take their portrait, to hear their story. A Puerto Rican hairdresser with palpable charm came up to me and gave me a rosary that he purchased earlier that day because he “felt a connection to me” and like I “should just have it”. We were out there becoming landscape while documenting it, and what we have now, this 5:55 minute work, has a little bit of Hammonton all over it. I think that if nothing more, a video, for me, is evidence of the power of a collaboration. Together we all level up. Grateful for every piece of the puzzle, including these very eyes reading these words. right. here.
MORE COLLABS 2016 LETS GO ~!
The capitalism shirt featured in the vid is up for sale on my website obviously
THE BOOK: Bell Hooks – AINT I A WOMAN: Black Women and Feminism.
WHATS UP: Do you know a woman? maybe you are one. Read this book for a chance to learn more about yourself, western culture, & the history of a struggle, all the while adding sun and soil to your personal growth, my young buds. Sprouty~