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.
Sixteen-year-old Evie Irie's parents responded in a way most don't when she was struggling in school and said she wanted to pursue music. They sent her to Los Angeles for six months to give it a shot. The Australia-based teenager took this leap of faith and ran with it, releasing her first E.P, 5 Weeks In LA, over the summer and now the music video for her song "Stupid Things" right here on Refinery29. Starting out with the French horn, Irie told us that she always knew she had an ear for music, but it wasn't until this life-changing trip that she opened herself up and poured out the words she was proud of.
But living her dream wasn't as blissful as she expected. While jetting off to L.A. fueled her creatively, the decision caused Irie to miss out on the playful antics of being a teenager.
"My lips, oh, they have never touched a cigarette / And my tongue has never felt the burn of whiskey yet," the song goes. "Oh, and I don't have a list of nights that I regret, wish I could forget / All because you have got me wrapped in bubble wrap."
With the help of director Katharine White, Irie transformed this feeling into her music video. It all takes place on a couch, with Irie surrounded by friends — as well as a secret camera. It creates a fishbowl-like experience that mirrors Irie's frustration with feeling trapped as she navigates her personal growth. Ahead, we spoke to Irie about making her first splash in the music industry, and way the video came together on set.
Refinery29: How did you end up writing this EP?
Evie Irie: “I'm a typical kid who does not like school, but my parents made a deal with me and said, you can go to L.A. next year. It's for six months. We'll give you this opportunity to learn and we don't expect anything out of it, except you'll grow and maybe make a few connections in the music business for when you finish high school. I ended up going, making a lot of connections, writing about 100 songs, playing at 100 shows a night, and staying the entire year.”
When did you realize that your dream was actually coming true?
“The first song I wrote, I was like, Wow, this could eventually be something big. I really think this is such a good song. I always thought that [my songs] were good, but I never thought they were my good. That was the moment, when I wrote these songs that had so much internal dialogue and were so real. I was like, People are gonna relate to this.”
Can you tell me a little bit about the process of writing this song? What inspired it?
“I was away in L.A., away from my friends. They would talk to me about these stories of going out partying, meeting new people, getting boyfriends, and getting up to mischief and I was almost jealous. I'm like, Why? Why are you getting to do that and I'm not? I'm here living a serious life, working almost every single day and you're having fun. I'm confused. I blamed my parents. I wanted to write a song about how they never let me do anything. As we started writing it, it became like, I'm not letting myself do any of that. I'm putting this pressure on myself that I have to be a certain way, but I am a kid and I should just live it.”
Did you have a specific vision for the video?
“I had this photo of a girl on the couch with all this mess and really sick lighting. I was on a conference call with the director and I said, I have this photo. It inspired me. I came up with some other things that were a little bit too much because that's where my brain goes. Like, I want us to be green people. Why? I don't know.”
“It was such a fun process to see [my ideas] come to life and be a part of it. Because every music video like I do, I have a strong vision even though I don't know what the vision is, but I have a strong vision for every single one of my songs and partnering up with the right person is hard. But we found Katharine and she's so incredible and understands my mind and how to translate that in real time. It's great.”
Did you know the people on set or did you all meet that day?
“I brought one of my friends, the girl sitting next to me on my left. The rest were extras. But I have this game that I play with my friends back in Australia. It's so stupid. It's called Rabbit Rabbit Carrot Carrot. And so we ended up playing Rabbit Rabbit Carrot Carrot and we had a good laugh.”
Who are some of your inspirations/dream artist to work with?
“If I could pick any artists to collaborate with, I would have collabed with No Doubt. I know they're not together anymore, but you know what? A girl can dream.”
This interview was edited for clarity and length.