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.
You may know Mackenzie Ziegler as one of the stars of Dance Moms, but since leaving the show in 2016, the triple threat has built a brand for herself that is all her own. She’s the executive producer and star of Brat series Total Eclipse. She’s performed on The Today Show and Dancing With the Stars. Now, under the moniker kenzie, she’s a bona fide pop act. The singer has released songs like “Hot,” “Wonderful,” and “Nothing On Us,” but her most energized track to date may be her just-released “MOTIVES.” In the music video for “MOTIVES” released exclusively to Refinery29, kenzie dances her way through a boxing gym, an army of dancers by her side.
kenzie talked about working with mostly women on “MOTIVES” and why it’s just as exhausting as you think to make a dance-heavy video — even when you were basically born dancing.
Refinery29: What was the inspiration behind setting the video in a boxing gym?
kenzie: “I wanted the whole video and song to be like [the embodiment of] ‘girl boss.’ The video was directed by a woman and produced by women — all boss ladies. I wanted to video to be set in a place [typically] run by men, but switching the roles. I wanted it to be girl-empowering, and say that we can do anything.
“The director came to me with a treatment for the video. I was like, ‘I’m obsessed with this.’ It went really fast. I am going home for the holidays so we had to get this video out super fast, but I’m happy with how it came out.”
What was the hardest part of making this video?
“The dancing. I try not to do dance videos that much because I get so tired, but for this one I wanted to have great dancers and have it all based around dancing and having fun. It was super hard and I was out of breath a lot, but it was worth it.”
“I got to set around 8:45 [in the morning], and I think I left around 10:45 [at night]. It was a long day.”
What was it like to work with an all-woman team on this video?
“Usually, my videos are directed by men and they don’t always know how to pose a girl. Having a woman [on set,] she knows exactly what she wants and exactly what she wants me to do. Everyone was so supportive. When it’s all girls, we’re all just so supportive of each other.”
How do you think this music is different from other work you’ve put out there before?
“When I was younger I was still finding my sound. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do yet. I was trying to do what everyone else was doing. [My music now] is dancier, there’s a groove to it. I like my sound now.”
You’re an executive producer on Brat’s Total Eclipse, which you also star in. Is it important for you to have a creative role in projects you participate in?
“Yeah. This is my first time executive producing a series, and it was so much fun. They let me have a lot of creative input. They let me help with the script, which is super cool. The show is with all of my friends, which makes it really cool.”
Do you have any ideas for your next video?
“I’m excited to see what the next video is going to be. I am excited to try anything. I really want to break stuff in my next video! Doing something like that would be super fun. The dance thing — people really love that, and I love that.”
Check out the video for "MOTIVES" below:
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.