Welcome to The Drop, Refinery29's new home for exclusive music video premieres. We want to shine the spotlight on women artists whose music inspires, excites, and (literally) moves us. This is where we'll champion their voices.
Daya has probably been stuck in your head the past two years. The 19-year-old is behind hits like "Hide Away" and "Sit Still, Look Pretty" that earned her her multi-platinum status, but there's a noticeably different feel to her most recent release, "Safe." While the singer told Refinery29 that she made no purposeful moves to create a different sound, it's clear that her years in the spotlight gave her a new and important perspective. The song was written immediately after the 2017 shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. She and producers Laleh and Joel Little put those powerful sentiments into words, and now she's bringing that emotion to video in the exclusive premiere on Refinery29.
The video itself is poignantly artistic, capturing the childhood feeling of this "very safe, very calculated, made-up world." The imagery is simple but profound, both colorful and dark, knowing what we know about the song's origins. It's this feeling of finding comfort wherever we can that inspired Daya to also bring the song's message to social media, creating the hashtag #SafeIs in hopes that listeners will share the small moments that bring them peace in a world that is increasingly chaotic. Ahead, we spoke to Daya about what that safety means to her, and how it manifests in her new music video.
"Safe" definitely feels like an evolved sound. Do you think your music has grown since Sit Still, Look Pretty?
"I just let the music flow however I'm feeling. I've really grown this year as a person and as a writer. I think that this music is definitely more in line with what I had been wanting to make all along. I think that "Hide Away" and "Sit Still, Look Pretty" were amazing songs and an amazing part of my career and my growth, but I think that "Safe" feels like a whole other level of authenticity."
How would you describe your music now?
"I don't think I would put a genre to it. Sometimes I go into the studio and create something very R&B sounding, or very urban sounding, or very pop sounding. I've used this past year to really experiment and explore."
In your words, what is "Safe" about?
"It really just started from a feeling. It went straight from feeling to product. It was very free-flowing. The melody doesn't necessarily make sense with the usual structural guidelines of songwriting. It's not a typical hook or typical chorus. That was really telling of how overtaken by the feeling I was that day, a tragic, tragic day."
Would you say it’s a political song?
"It could be interpreted as a call to action with our government. But, more than anything, I just wanted to embody that emotion. It is more of an emotional thing that I think everyone experienced after that day. I don't want it to turn into this political thing and have there be sides to it. There aren't any sides to humanity."