The voice is back. Beth Ditto, who we know as a fashion icon and a designer in her own right, has launched her solo career as an artist. Her debut single, after taking a break from The Gossip, has gotten its first video and it is two parts progressive and one part country. Never forget: Ditto is from Arkansas, y'all.
Ditto hinted to Refinery29 UK back in November of 2016 that she was working on a new album. She told Pitchfork that this album would be different from The Gossip, saying it's "gonna be my southern record but not necessarily a country record." The first video, "Fire," certainly nails that tone with a plethora of visual references from movies that are iconically Southern-influenced but not necessarily country.
The primary thing the video brings to mind is the classic 1980s Patrick Swayze movie, Road House. Ditto plays the house band, dressed up in her Urban Cowboy meets Elvis best, while a surly crew of men gets into a bar brawl. Things take a shift when several of the rough and tumble guys take to the dance floor and do a line dance — seemingly inspired by the guy in the green-sleeved baseball shirt who is a dead ringer for good ole boy Williard (Chris Penn) in the original Footloose.
Ditto's outfit is straight Starman era David Bowie, with a dash of John Travolta (a mix of Urban Cowboy and Saturday Night Fever). No surprise there. Ditto told Refinery29 UK that Bowie is one of her style icons, saying, “I love him so much. That’s because of his ability to change and that he took things that weren’t necessarily conventionally beautiful and made them incredible.”
Ditto's debut solo album, Fake Sugar, is due out on June 16.