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.
Writing a song about having the butterflies because of a crush isn't exactly LOONY's style; she typically prefers to tackle meatier subject matters in her songwriting. More often than not, having a crush on a person feels inconsequential, a small blip compared to the gravity of the rest of the world's current affairs. But that's exactly what led the Toronto singer-songwriter to lean into the cringey feelings for "be cool" — she needed to escape the heaviness of the world.
In the dreamy single and accompanying music video, premiering here on Refinery29, LOONY pivots from the harsh realities of 2020 and explores a reality where the most pressing issue of the time is her growing obsession with a special someone. That's not to take away from the stress of that situation by any means; the discovery that you may have romantic feelings (shudders) for someone is often very anxiety-inducing. You can't stop thinking about them, you want to be around them all the time, and if you're anything like LOONY, you probably won't be at peace until you tell them how you feel.
"be cool" fleshes out that struggle, following the neo-soul artist's internal dialogue as she works up the nerve to confess her love to her crush. Inspired by a successful real life encounter, the song taps into the restless but relatable flutters of first love. LOONY teeters between denial ("It's not like I feel deeply about it. It's not like I love you") and determination ("Gonna tell you in the hopes that it'll go away"), doing everything to speed through her latest infatuation.
Ahead, LOONY shares her personal advice on how to "be cool" when you're around your crush and even offers an update on the person who inspired the single.
Refinery29: What inspired "be cool?"
LOONY: "Some of the music that I put out earlier this year was focused on the past and was about me working through my traumas. So then I focused on what was in front of me, and at the time, that was my crush. I had a crush on somebody and felt really stupid about it — you just feel dumb when you have a crush. I was thinking, I'm a grown up! Why do I feel gross and sweaty and like a little kid? I just decided to do a stream of consciousness on how I felt at the time and tried to make it sound cool so I could feel empowered somehow even though I really felt vulnerable and silly."
"Crushes are just cringey, and I've never really wanted to talk about them. But even though it's so awkward, that's what's coming out right now. I'm trying to be authentic as to where I'm at."
Does the person you had a crush on know that they inspired the song? Was it a successful crush, or did you get curved?
Laughs. "Luckily, it was successful! So it's less embarrassing...but not really."
Your sound is very neo-soul, no doubt a result of growing up on some of the classics. Are there any artists' songs in the genre that really shaped you?
"Alicia Keys' 'You Don't Know My Name.' I just get those chills because it still feels and sounds so good. I wish I wrote that song. That whole album, The Diary of Alicia Keys, changed my life. And that song is also about crushes, so it all comes together."
The visuals are very dreamlike, almost as if they're part of a fantasy. How did you decided upon that aesthetic for the music video?
"I get really excited by visuals, so I usually take a pretty hands-on approach. I wrote the whole treatment after listening to a bunch of demos. The storyline happened in a very linear way in my head because I wanted everyone watching and listening to see it the same way I was seeing in my head. I wanted it to be very hazy, very dreamy, and also to look very staged, like we were on set. I didn't want anything to feel too real because that's exactly how a crush is — everything feels so fake because you're trying so hard."
What's your advice for anyone grappling with their own crush right now? Any tips for getting the person we want, even in a pandemic?
"You just need to go for it! I don't think that this year, I would have ever told someone that I had a crush on them, but like...nothing matters because the world is on fire. As long as you're not being creepy and making them uncomfortable, just go for it. Just get over yourself and do it!"
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.