Welcome to The Drop, Refinery29's new home for exclusive music video premieres. We want to shine the spotlight on female artists whose music inspires, excites, and (literally) moves us. This is where we'll champion their voices.
STACEY is California dreaming — or, at least, she is in her new video for "It'll Be Alright."
The singer-songwriter, who hails from Toronto, will release her sophomore EP First Move in the fall of 2017, and with it a slew of emotional tracks from the hardened romantic. While anyone who has perused STACEY's SoundCloud page should already be looking forward to the classic-meets-contemporary singer's follow-up to her 2015 debut self-titled EP, it's her new music video that should make any fan (or first-time listener) extra eager to hear — and see — more from the artist.
The new video is Lana Del Rey meets David Lynch (it was filmed along Mulholland Drive, and STACEY looks every bit a Lynchian heroine here) but, ultimately, it's pure STACEY. Prior to writing the new single, STACEY headed to California in pursuit of clarity — and ended up self-soothing with her new song.
Refinery29 spoke to STACEY about her latest video, the inspiration behind the song, and what it was like to drive that convertible.
What was the inspiration behind writing "It'll Be Alright"?
"I was going through a few rough patches in my life professionally, creatively, and romantically. I took a trip to L.A. just to get a little vacation and I had this AirBnB in Silverlake. The song sort of came through in a way that I would normally comfort someone else but rarely allot to myself. It just took form... as if I was talking to someone else, but for once giving [advice] to me when I needed it."
What is it about California that inspired you?
"I've had a bit of a love affair with California for awhile. I used to date a guy out here. I was just back and forth. I started to fall in love with it really in my own right as a single person, but really just generally as a place. It's so gorgeous here and there's something really escapist about it. Everyday in that AirBnB the sun set and it had such a great view. I could see for miles. The landscape was so gorgeous and so ethereal. It just felt like a dream everyday. I was writing in this place and it had ceiling to floor windows. It was just a really inspiring landscape. I would definitely say that it's California-inspired for sure. [Since] it was the only song off of the EP that I had written out here, I decided to film the video out [in California]. This is a California song. I wrote it there, it had to be shot there."
Can you describe the aesthetic of the video in a few words?
"I would describe it as escapist, overcoming, 60's... It's a driving summer anthem."
What was the inspiration, externally? Did any particularly artists, movies, or icons inspire the video?
"I just really like home movies. I'm really obsessed with film and so it moreso came from just wanting to collaborate with my frequent photographer/videographer Laura-Lynn Petrick because she shoots all on film and all on Super 8 for all of the videos that she does. It's really an attempt to bake in nostalgia while the song is nostalgia, but also has modern elements. Having that juxtaposition is just really interesting to me. When I put the stuff together I usually just make a Pinterest board for an aesthetic inspiration. There's a lot of really cool '60s photoshoots with Marilyn Monroe and all of the classic people. We just shot it on five rolls of Super 8 film. So we had 15 minutes of footage.
It looks like it really is from a different time.
"For sure! I don't particularly love a lot of super modern creative. At least not for me. I do like it, but it doesn't feel right to me. So, that's why, when I shot the video for 'First Move,' I was nervous because it was all in digital and I still wanted it to feel classic so we just pulled back into what else can we do to make it feel classic. So, the wardrobe, the hair, makeup, and the location. Literally everything else and the coloring to pull it back into this nostalgic place. It's something that feels right to me. Same thing with all my clothes. All the clothes in all these videos are just mine that I had. I just put together what I think is gonna go best with the vibe that we wanna create."
How would you describe your style when you're not on stage, when you're not actually performing? Do you go for a vintage vibe?
"Yeah, for sure. It's sort of like vintage gypsy that's at times Victorian, but at other times it's fancy. I love anything from '40s to '70s. I always kind of do a mashup of stuff. It's usually anything that's really lush in either color, texture, or pattern. I have a cape that's black and gold with tassels. Stevie Nicks to Bridget Bardot and Jane Birkin and Audrey Hepburn. [And] anyone from the '20s."
Speaking of vintage things, tell me about this car that you were driving.
"The car was amazing. It's a '68 Cadillac DeVille. I found it three days before the shoot. I was scrambling. I had been looking for so long. I was trying to decide whether I wanted a red one or a white one. Now that's it's finished, I can't imagine if it had been red. I feel like it would have totally been ruined. The white pops so well.
"I had such a great time driving that car. I felt so badass. I had my hair and makeup done and we're driving in Malibu on our way there. I had the Beach Boys on, like 'This is amazing!' A true California experience.
"[The car] was so big. It was pretty hard to drive. I got the hang of it, but it was definitely [a challenge]. Even now when I watch the video, making those turns on the edge of the cliff, and I'm trying to act and sing. [Laughs] What the hell did I do?"
So, who are you listening to right now?
"Well, I'm definitely listening to the new Lana Del Rey record. It's so good. It's so good. She, also, just does such a great job of drawing a through line between super vintage and super modern. Like you have A$AP Rocky and you have Stevie Nicks on your record. You have trap beats and a Sean Lennon chord progression and him on the track. It's really beautiful.
"This is a little less recent, but I love Whitney and I love Tame Impala. I hope Tame Impala releases new music soon. I like the new Pond record. I always love Tobias Jesso Jr... I've also recently played Frank Ocean all the time. So good. I saw him on Saturday night at FYF. Oh my God. He just melted me into a puddle. It was so incredible. He was so good. "
"I've been putting on Spice Girls randomly when I'm driving around. It makes me laugh and I just love it. I also have this '60s cover playlist. I eventually would like to cover a handful of new and old songs and just do a little EP of covers. It's not in the works, really, but I'm toying with that idea. I have The Four Tops and Skeeter Davis and Delfonics and Fleetwood Mac and Olivia Newton-John and The Beach Boys. I also love the new Always song. I'm so excited about all of them."
What advice would you give other young artists, especially young female artists, aspiring to be a singer/songwriter?
"Trust your gut and be patient and work as hard as you can. That's really it... Sometimes there can be a lot of other influences when you're trying to make art or when you're trying to have a show or you're just putting something together creatively. When you deviate, at least, when I deviate from my vision as a result of an external factor, I usually end up saying to myself 'You knew that that wasn't going to be a good idea and you did it anyway because of external pressures and here we are.' That applies to anything. That applies to a social situation or when you're in the studio, at a show, or talking to industry. If someone gives you shitty, misogynistic feelings, trust your gut and get out of there."
Check out the video below: