If Katy Perry vouches for you, you know you've got something special. Michigan-born singer Cyn is the latest to sign to Perry's imprint on Capitol records, and is premiering the music video for her second single, "Only With You," exclusively on Refinery29. The video portrays a character with an unrelenting obsession, getting more and more absurd as the song goes on. It's hard to tell if we can't look away because of the story, or because of the awesome outfits, colors, and jokes sprinkled through the video.
Refinery29 spoke to Cyn ahead of the video's premiere, when she told us about how her upbringing influenced her music, and the real-life story behind the lyrics of the song.
Refinery29: How did you get started in music?
Cyn: I got started in music when I was just going through the usual pains of growing up. My parents got divorced when I was really young. It was final when I was 5. So watching my parents break up was really difficult and I found solace in writing, just writing in general, and then when I started taking piano lessons I combined the two — writing and singing — and I've been practicing since then.
Who are the artists who made you decide to become a musician?
When I was really young my mom was listening to Jewel's album Pieces Of You. She sings like an angel, almost like a type of lullabye. When I was going through that realization of my parents breaking up my mom was listening to "Foolish Games" and "You Were Meant For Me," and I thought every time the songs came on I thought Jewel was standing in front of a microphone and singing it me. I didn't understand that it was recorded. I was like, "I wanna do this." And I didn't understand what I meant, but I think I just knew I wanted to express myself through music, and she really was that example for me.
How would you describe your style as an artist?
It changes all the time, but how do I feel today? I'd say that it's very true to myself. True and lighthearted and funky.
How did you meet Katy Perry?
We met because I connected with one of her friends via Twitter. I was 18, I think. One day they tweeted "who's working on music? Send me stuff!" and I was like, "Oh my god! Me!" And he sent it to Katy, and I ended up meeting with her and signing with her.
Working with Katy is really awesome. We have a great relationship where she supports all of my stuff, she's posting about it, and I really appreciate it. That's not even the most important thing. When there's an event going on we see each other, we're like a little music family, and I really feel supported by her and her team, even on a friends level. If I need some advice, she's there.
How would you describe your character in this video, and what was the inspiration?
I was watching this documentary on Netflix about George Harrison, and there's this little segment of these girls fainting at a concert, and it flashes to another scene with a man...saying, "This is about females who worship the goddess of love, and they would do anything for their heros." And it really was inspiring to me, and I just thought about when I was growing up, thinking back on being completely obsessed with this person that I don't know, that I've just seen through the TV, and maybe it's a female, too! Because I was very obsessed with Taylor Swift and Avril Lavigne, and you just become so infatuated with the love you have for a figure. I wanted to show that.
If I were to describe the character, I'd say she's totally out of touch. Completely convinced that this is the real world and it's only this guy or these guys. She can't see past her own infatuation.
Was the song also about this, or was it more personal?
The lyrics are more personal because I shot the video two years after I wrote the song. I was in love with somebody and I wanted to only be about that person. I didn't want anything to do with anyone but him. There was definitely a sense of idolizing, and I think that's why it works so well in the context we put it in in the video.
You can listen to "Only With You" on Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, and Google Play.
This interview has been edited for clarity and condensed.
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