Welcome to The Drop, Refinery29's home for 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.
Nashville singer-songwriter Bailey Bryan doesn't usually write love songs. In fact, she doesn't really like them to begin with. But with "Perspective," the warm, newest single off of her forthcoming EP, Bryan has finally articulated the kind of love story that feels authentic to her: one that gives thanks to those who care for her and, most importantly, one that ends in her having a renewed appreciation and love for herself.
In the cinematic music video for "Perspective," premiering exclusively on Refinery29, we find Bryan among a handful of characters staying in a roadside motel. As she sings near a mirror, she contemplates her sense of self-worth and we see the parallel stories of other guests unfold. Each ends in a different place from where they began. A shady-looking biker clutches a bag as he hastily runs into his room and closes the blinds, only to reveal that he was stowing his beloved dog. A woman in sunglasses slinks into her room and we see that she has a black eye. But, she lights up as soon as she holds a baby, who she brought with her, and they begin their new life. We follow a bored-looking motel housekeeper who comes to life when she puts on her headphones and dances beautifully while she cleans.
The track follows her soaring single "Songbird" and 2017 debut EP, So Far. Bryan has played on dates with Kane Brown and Dan + Shay, as well as CMA Music Fest, Stagecoach, and more. Most recently, she embarked on a tour in London with LANCO.
Refinery29 caught up with Bryan on the phone to talk about the inspiration for "Perspective," finding her voice, and expanding the definition of the traditional love song.
Refinery29: You've said that "Perspective" is the first love song you've written that you actually like. Why is that?
Bailey Bryan: "This song feels real to me. I think that's because, first of all, it came naturally and quickly. It ended up being an honest song about what I think love should be — something that makes you feel confident and whole as an individual, and not dependent on somebody else — which is something I have mistaken for love plenty of times in the past. The song keeps on taking new meanings for me, the longer it's been out. When we released it, I was thinking of it in the context of my fans, the handful of loyal people who like my music and have been patient with me, waiting for me to come out with new music and being so excited about it. Making me feel like the most important artist in the world when I'm so, so, so...insignificant. [Laughs]."
I also think about that kind of love in the context of my family. They moved across the country [from Washington to Nashville] with me when I was 17, strictly so that I could pursue music. If that kind of love isn't a vote of confidence I don't know what is. So, the song fits in to a lot of different contexts for me and that's my favorite thing about it."
What is it about you and love songs?
"Something that I strive to do with my songwriting is to capture the full spectrum of an emotion. I feel like sometimes a song can oversimplify a situation — and I experience a lot of complicated emotions on a daily basis. So, If I'm writing about love, it'll start as a love song and it may turn out way too sweet and sugary because life is dark, stuff ends, and maybe I'm writing about this thing being forever, but who really knows! I'm 21. I tend to overthink it and if the overthought isn't represented in the song, then I don't usually like it. That's why I like this one: If the self-love is missing from a relationship or from a love song then it's not really complete or realistic."
How did the video come about?
"The video reflects the different meanings that the song has taken on for me since writing it. I wanted the video to represent love beyond a relationship. I wanted to play with the word 'perspective' and have your perspective on whoever is in the video and every situation that's happening in the video shift as the song goes on. You start thinking one thing is happening and then you get a better perspective of it later on. It was, weirdly, everything that I was picturing in my head — a bunch of different stories that represent different kinds of love, including mine. My self-love. Now more than ever, when I sing this song I am singing it to myself, essentially."
What led you to write "Perspective"?
"I spent a whole year just writing and trying to figure out what I wanted to say and being a little bit lost creatively. I felt like the lost the feeling that came from spending a lot of time worrying what other people were going to think, or what their perspective or perception of what I create would be. That paralyzed me for a second. I somehow got to this breaking point where I let go of that and asked myself: what do I want to say?"
"The other thing I realized, even more in retrospect, is that I wrote this song towards the end of a relationship that started well but it was starting to become not so good. It was weird timing to write a love song, but I think through losing this person while I was still with them, I was forced to think, 'I could either just crumble and chase you or I can start to just find confidence in myself.' I was literally in the middle of that and realizing what I deserve while still in this relationship and writing this song."