First Watch: Chelsea Jade's 'Low Brow'
We premiere Chelsea Jade's video for 'Low Brow', a song from her forthcoming album, and hear from the artist about childhood careers and looking silly.
If you're wondering what a face distorted by the unfamiliar command to “project serenity” looks like, I can tell you. In fact, I can SHOW you. It looks like this:
Me. Age 12, accidentally smirking over a mouthful of braces and trying to create chemistry with a bored rose. While both of us wilted under the hot studio lights, I decided to quit ballet. I would go on to claim that the demands on my time eclipsed my passion for dance, but the truth is I was no good. I could no longer hide poor technique behind a singular gift for staring longingly into the middle distance.
Frankly, it's pretty awkward realising you're only cosmetically adept at something you've poured many years of study into. It's also pretty awkward realising your efforts to appear sun-kissed were betrayed by the act of washing your hands too soon after application. Luckily, since Alanis Morrisette was the one who said 'you live, you learn', I listened and bowed out of the ballet game quietly. When it came to do the 'Low Brow' video, I forgot and convinced director Alexander Gandar that I could dance for 3 minutes and 58 seconds.
There are times when I think this kind of skill-based grandeur delusion does well to serve the creative process, especially when your song is called 'Low Brow'. My long-buried anxiety over how high I couldn't kick and how far I couldn't leap wouldn't be in a position to compromise the choreography of a song that was all about pushing through feelings of inadequacy. And: what represents dumb, unbridled enthusiasm better than a car-yard breezy geezer? Answer: loads of car-yard breezy geezers.
On a recommendation, we hired choreographer Tori Manley to help me become a breezy geezer incarnate. We spent several evenings trying to fill large empty halls with the movement of just us two. Tori would say something like “move as though you have no bones in your body” and we would writhe around spectacularly. I loved it. There's no right way to move as though you're absent of a skeleton. There's no right way! For the same reason I failed IGCSE mathematics twice, I thrived at being a human worm. Fuck infrastructure! Honestly, for the same reason I thrived at being a human worm, i'm surprised I've never been arrested.
A couple of videos ago, I decided that the only way to visually communicate the contents of my song 'Night Swimmer' was to hug a block of ice like it was my boyfriend until it melted (like it was my boyfriend). Despite how (literally) painful that concept was to execute, I was far more nervous about dancing through 'Low Brow’. Mimicking the enthusiasm of an inflatable dancer felt like a test of inner-morale. If I could do it with child-like bravado then maybe a trace of this blindly audacious kid could re-embed herself in me:
Because sometimes it shouldn’t matter whether you’re doing it ‘right’. It should matter whether you’re doing it with gusto. Even if you look a little silly.
Video directed by Alexander Gandar
Produced by Billie Ruck
Director of Photography: Tim Flower
Hair + Make Up by Tanya Barlow
Cover image: Shamima Lone
Thank you to NzonAir, Eighthirty Coffee Roasters, All Good Organics, RUBY , Karma Cola, Silo Park and Billie Ruck's mum Lynley for making this video happen well.