Aussie singer-songwriter, Lenka, is a long-time Lost At E Minor favourite. She needs no introduction. Her global hit, The Show, was not only all over the airwaves, it also featured on Grey’s Anatomy, and in campaigns for Old Navy and Coke.
Her songs are dreamy, poppy and always imbued with a gentle spirit and subtle lyrical messaging. Equally as compelling are the videos that accompany them.
We’re pleased to exclusively premiere Lenka’s latest video, for her new single, Heal. Written in collaboration with Sally Seltmann (aka New Buffalo), Heal features a beautiful, meditative melody, and stunningly evocative imagery.
We got the inside word from Lenka about the single and the ideation behind the video.
You directed the video for Heal. Where did the idea for it come from and how did you storyboard it out?
“Yes, I was the director, though as always, it was a collaboration between me, my partner/art director James Gulliver Hancock, and also the choreographer, Nalina Wait.
“The idea was originally to be stark black and white figures intertwining together and then bursts of colour coming over them, representing the ‘healing’.
“I storyboarded it out using rough drawings and found images online of dancers and also this technique of filming coloured ink in a fish tank of water.
“In the end, we thought that the footage looked so nice in the desaturated sepia tones that we decided not to make it black and white, so then the colours had to be toned down to suit it and the ink became very pale pastel tones.
“On the day we shot the dancing, it felt like we were in this sweet, calm, sensual cult and that feeling actually ended up informing the rest of the video, too. We were calling ourselves “The Swedish Textures” because of all the wool and lace and such we were wearing.
“Note about the fashion: the crocheted shawl I am wearing was made by my mum in the 1970s! And the woollen jumper the male dancer wears was brought over on the boat from England by my mother-in-law, also in the 1970s.
“So it’s a very intimate, personal production indeed! Full circle healing.”
The video is somewhat of a departure from the more bouncy, poppy videos we’ve seen in the past. Do you see it as a step in an evolution of Lenka the artist? Or more just a fitting way to pay tribute to the mood of the song itself?
“Every video is meant to pay homage to the song and the vibe has to suit it, I feel. So mostly, I was just going with the mood of Heal. But I think as I get older, the boppy, poppy videos of yore are no longer as suitable for me.
“It’s a fine line between letting my inner-child set free but not seeming too ridiculous. The feel of this video was also a reaction to everything being so over-saturated and full-on in music media right now.
“I’m just overwhelmed by the visuals of the pop girls and their millions of outfits and disposable materialism and lack of subtlety. I want something more subtle.”
Tell us about the writing of the song, Heal. It was a collaboration: how did that play out between you and Sally?
“I had wanted to collaborate with Sally for a while now. We have a similar linear history in our lives. We both went to the same art school (COFA) at slightly different times, we are both mums, and we have both been doing music for many years, living both in Australia and the US.
“So it was really interesting to have a chat and write some songs together. She is a very gifted songwriter and really good at collaborating.
“For this song, we were sitting in my little home studio and I was playing keys and she had made a little beat we played along to. I was having a big dispute with a close girlfriend of mine and we had just begun to resolve it and that was actually the jumping-off point for this song: female friendships and how to move forward when there are so many intense feelings and complications.
“But, of course, like so many songs, it has a universal meaning, too, and it actually reminds me of some romantic conflicts I’ve been in too. Basically, it’s a message to all of us to try and take the high road and move forward in relationships, rather than let the whole thing explode.
“If we do that, we can heal and grow and learn so much from each other.”
Lenka’s fifth album, Attune, will be available worldwide on October 13.
>>Check out our exclusive video interview with Lenka about her music and her creative process