New York based musician, Raia Was, released her “love song to anxiety,” “You Are,” a little over a month ago and today we are graced by its visual counterpart.
The music video was directed by filmmaker/photographer Lilena Marinou. The two met one night after one of Raia’s shows, backstage at Elsewhere in Brooklyn. They struck up a conversation about Lilena’s current film projects and as well as the concepts going through Raia’s mind as she wrote Side B of Angel, I’m Frightened. The topics of dichotomy and cloning kept coming up and after listening to “You Are,” Lilena made sure they were the central themes for the video.
She was inspired by the contrast of Raia’s lyrics and overall sound of the song. “[The lyrics mention] natural imagery like temples and river-like bends, organic settings with a clear framework around them, but its sound consists of distorted vocals, synthesizer and unusual tempo,” Lilena explains.
In the video, Lilena chose to directly mimic that relationship by utilizing natural settings like a waterfall and weeping trees as a backdrop to Raia and the dancers, who were dressed in costumes influenced by streetwear and vinyl textiles. “The costume design served as perhaps the greatest antithesis,” Lilena explains. The costumes looked almost like fashionable garbage floating in the wind of the natural settings that they inhabited, not taking over the beauty of nature, but adding to it.
As for the theme of cloning, Lilena created a world where Raia’s anxiety wasn’t something that was within her but in fact was an “extension of herself alive in the bodies of the dancers around her, holding her in.”
Towards the end of the video, we see Raia shattering a fragile glass shell that had been her armor throughout the majority of the video. She finally has broken free from the way that she previously viewed herself and her anxiety and is able to move on in her journey of life with a new outlook.
This song and this video show the beauty that lives in the disjointed and dark world that is anxiety. It’s especially prevalent during this time of panic and the unknown. The amount of creativity that is oozing of out people fueled by societal defined “negative” emotions has been truly beautiful. “You Are” is a great reminder that we can change our way of thinking and use those fears for good.
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Article: Merissa Blitz