The Drop: Exclusive Premiere Of Rachel Crow's "Dime"

Photo: Courtesy of subject.
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.
Pop has always been a place for women to reclaim their sexuality and self worth — from "Man, I Feel Like A Woman" to Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful," the genre lends itself to galvanizing anthems of strength and individuality. Rachel Crow's "Dime" carries on this tradition: The song is about valuing yourself — "I'm a dime," Crow reminds us repeatedly throughout the song.
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Speaking over the phone, Crow reassures me that she doesn't mean "dime" in the sense of a "perfect 10."
"A perfect ten doesn't exist; that's the point," she tells Refinery29 over the phone. The song isn't about the sliding scale of inherent value — it's about inherent value, period. It's also, like the best anthems, a boppy, unapologetic good time. The accompanying video, premiering exclusively with Refinery29, is just as unapologetic: It's a phone-free celebration of the teen hangouts in the '90s, replete with a Jeep Wrangler and a drive-in movie. Crow is dressed in a Paco Rabonne sports bra and slouchy sweatpants — a vision in 2017 retro nostalgia. She wrote "Dimes," two and a half years ago, when she was just seventeen.
Today, at 19, the singer seems anxious to get the more adult show on the road, especially because she's been on the teen track for a while now. Crow got her start at 13 years old on The X Factor. Precocious and all-too-cute, the Colorado native was a fan favorite. She didn't make it all the way to the end, though, and Crow says it's for the better. If she'd won the X Factor, she might not be who she is today: a 19-year-old multi-hyphenate with an upcoming role in the Bumblebee film and an obsession with Insecure. (She's mad at both Issa and Lawrence for his actions in the season 2 premiere.)
Refinery29: Tell me about how you wrote "Dime." It's full of money puns!
Rachel Crow: "Yeah! We just wanted a really fun, kind of sassy type of throwback song. We tried a few things, and I was like, I don't know about all this. But then we got to 'dime,' and we were like, 'Oh, that's fun.' And after that we were kind of messing around, but we were just like, 'How many puns can we fit into one song?' And it worked! It was humorous, but it was very clever. Actually my friend — the other day he finally heard the lyric, 'Spare the apologies' [I'm not spare change] — and he was like, 'What?' He went crazy. We kind of wanted to mix simple with very complicated and I think it came out well."
I like the lyric "invest in me," too. It's like, any amount of spare change is still valuable.
"Yeah that was the point — to be valued by someone is a big thing, and I think to value someone is even bigger, especially in today's world with relationships or whatever you call when you date someone but they don't want a label, you know what I mean? That's sort of what my song is about — I want everyone to feel good about themselves. I also want them to know you deserve the world. You deserve to be valued."
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Absolutely!
"I think it's kind of funny everyone's responding so well because in today's world, that's the truth. There are no relationships! There's just this kind of weird energy between two people where you're together with them, and you think you're exclusive, but you don't talk about what you are because there's some stigma with that. And so I think 'Dime' is also sort of calling that out. Like, 'Listen, I know who I am. And if you're gonna be with me, you're gonna be with me. And I wanna make you feel good about yourself just like I want you to make me feel good about myself.' And I think that's kind of the point of this song — everybody understanding and accepting each other."
Is this about any relationship in particular?
"Not for this song. I have several songs — I have one even called 'Dishonest' that's about a specific person. Just because, you know, I'm nineteen! [Laughs]. And you go through things and you go through heartbreak. But not this song in particular. I kind of pulled from many different experiences — even experiences that weren't mine. This was mainly a general callout, like, 'Hey! Everyone listen.'
"You'll definitely hear those diss tracks, though. The 'Yo! You broke my heart. What's wrong with you?' Those ones. And they're definitely about a specific person."
Speaking of, have you ever been ghosted?
"No, I have ghosted someone. [Laughs] I have. Because, you know, people treat you mean! And they expect you to just let them. So, I just didn't talk to them again."
You just deleted their number from your phone?
"I didn't delete their number in case they texted me one day and I didn't know who it was and I answered them. But I stopped talking to them. And it worked because they got the picture! That they weren't being a very nice person."
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I support you.
"You gotta be an empowered lady these days! You gotta take charge of your life." [Laughs]
The music video feels really retro but also kind of sultry. What was your vision for the video?
"When everyone hears the song, it's really upbeat and cheery. And it's definitely the most upbeat and happy song you'll probably hear from me. Just because my style — I wrote 'Dimes' two and a half years ago. And my sound has changed [since then], and I've grown as a person. Things are different. My music is really about showing that it's okay not to be okay, as cheesy as it sounds. And 'Dimes' was just this 'I'm great, I feel awesome' song. When you hear it, you think sunshine, and dancing, and walking down the street happily, and I didn't want that [for the video]. That seems cliché to me. I've seen way too many videos like that.
"So, I was like, 'I want this to be nighttime. I want it to shady and edgy. I want it to be colorful.' I got back this really cool treatment where we're at a drive-in, where we're in front of a movie and it's my movie. The original treatment was '50s style, but I didn't want that because that's not who I am. I used to be that girl when I was younger, but now I'm really changed, and I'm really inspired by TLC and Sporty Spice.
"I got this really really dope Mustang convertible — it was just, 'This is your car.' I got a text the morning of the shoot, 'Red or blue?' I wanted to screenshot it because is this my life? [Laughs] We got to the shoot, and it was better than I could have even imagined. I'm actually dancing in this video! I've never really danced before."
Have you studied dancing before?
"No! Not at all. I guess I've had rhythm. I love to dance and cut loose and have fun. But I've never actually danced. And so the day before I had a two hour rehearsal with my choreographer Ritchie, who is incredible. The day of, though, I just went for it. I did it perfectly; there was no weirdness. When the camera cut, everybody jumped up and started screaming and cheering. I was freaking out because it was my first time doing that and it was so nice that I did an okay job."
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You work so hard! You have a bajillion projects coming up. What do you do to blow off steam?
"What I really love to do is lay in bed and watch Netflix and eat junk food. I know that's what every 19-year-old probably says. I love Insecure and I keep hearing that GLOW is good. Maybe that's next."
Your departure on The X Factor was somewhat dramatic. People are still commenting on the YouTube video of your removal saying they haven't forgiven Nicole Scherzinger for letting you go. Have you forgiven her?
"Ugh. I'm like, y'all listen, okay? There was nothing to be forgiven. Everyone in the world needs to remember that was a reality TV show. Nicole Scherzinger is not to blame for anything to do with me. And also, I'm very very happy that I didn't win! There would have been a very different outcome, and I like where I am today. That was six years ago, people!"
What, in your opinion, is the song of the summer?
"The person that is annoying inside of me says 'Dime.' But my song of the summer is [Future's]` 'Mask off.' Every time it comes on, I just can't not move."
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Watch the video:
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