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Pop music means more to me than what one might see on the surface. It is a 3-5 minute expression of feelings that are often judged as superficial or trivial, and yet are feelings and experiences, none the less. The limited melodic format of pop music, combined with its repetition makes it intoxicating. And when the recording artist fully emerges themselves in the moment, it gives life to inner experiences that society would like to judge you for.

The producer, Danja, is a shooting star. He layers pop music in an almost operatic manner. His vocals are layered throughout the song, pulling you up, haunting you, leading you into a mysterious and intriguing place. The untrained ear may not even notice, but their effect is ever present. And the music itself…. talk about layered. I could strip the song and listen to each piece on its own and be mesmerized. Combine that with Britney Spears, who, regardless of the perception that has been given to you (because i doubt you have formed one on your own), gives herself over to the song completely. She is the song. You believe she is the moment. And one thing that makes a Britney pop song a Britney pop song, are the adlibs she adds throughout the entire song. Have you ever noticed that? She is one of the only artists whose background vocals and adlibs sometimes are what give the song its cherished tone. Anyway…. I can go on forever.

When my dear friend, Vivvyanne ForeverMORE asked me to produce a video for her birthday, I was more than happy to and because I respect her so much, I chose to use one of the greatest pop songs of all time; Gimme More. A song that I never bore of, a song that instantly changes my mood, my personality, my person.

In my early twenties, I was a silent actor for Opera Philadelphia and I so cherished being part of these large productions. Singers being flown in from all over the world, performing in the Academy of Music. It was a dream come true. And being there allowed me the opportunity to see what it would be like to have a concert, opera, show, whatever… of that scale.

One of my favorite things to do when working with popular songs is make new mixes to them, so I took Danja’s isolated background vocals, Britney’s isolated vocals, portions of the album version instrumental, and a concert version of the song from one of Britney’s tours and mixed all of that (even adding a completely different song for the intro, a song that had a similar mysterious and ominous tone) and made this operatic mix. I love the chants of “More!” that enhance the song. As she sings, “feels like the crowd is saying…”

And I put myself, Heaven on Earth, on the stage of the Academy of Music. Just before making this, I rewatched the film, The Red Shoes, and it took my back to my opera days. The Maestro leads the opera, they are behind the steering wheel. Silent and ever present. They are… The Maestro. And watching The Red Shoes I was reminded of this and how necessary they are and yet how much the general public, perhaps does not think of or respect them anymore. So, I thought, The Maestro should be a character in this video. What fun.

The song for me, also represents a resurrection of Cleopatra. Don’t ask me why, it’s just what came to me. If she was forced into suicide and the world, still till this day, can’t remove her name from their lips, why wouldn’t the powers that be grant her a return? They want more!

And why not through Britney Spears?

This video was also dedicated to Britney Spears because it was the performance of this song at The VMAs that began a change in perception of her. People were unkind to her, someone who literally dedicated her entire life to entertaining the world. And like spoiled, ungrateful children, people said what they said. Britney deserves more respect. More. More. More Honor. More. More. And so, I decided to get on the stage of The Academy of Music and thank her for her contribution to Pop Music. To Honor her energy. To give her…

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Heaven on earth
heaven on earth – more

Toxic

Heaven on Earth as Wicked Witch

Lady Liberty has been faced with her own reflection and now must choose; stay the same or face the ego. She is swept away to the land of Oz, where her strongest qualities personified assist her in this duel.

In learning about herself, LL has come to understand how much of what she boasts to be unique to her land, comes at the cost of others, is borrowed or stolen, and is not welcoming to all. It was for this reason I chose to begin the video with Tere Mere Beech Mein. The song, from the Bollywood film Ek Duuje Ke Liye, served as inspiration forToxic, unbeknownst to most who celebrate it. It speaks on the appropriation, lack of acknowledgement for said appropriation, and the ostracization of those who culture is borrowed from.

The Wizard of Oz serves as a backdrop. In my mind, the film centers around one’s personal development and some degree of “enlightenment”. The Tinman, Scarecrow, and Lion all serving as areas where once Dorothy felt scarcity (heart, wisdom, courage), but through facing fears, she is shown that she has had them all along. May we all come to that realization for ourselves.

The Wicked Witch serving as the ego; the aspect of one that attempts to keep them in a perpetual state of fear and hesitation. Facing the ego is a path to growth for us all. May you one day brave that journey, my friend.

I love you.

Heaven on Earth

SBCNSLY

Heaven on Earth

SBCNSLY is one those songs that when I heard it, I felt the spirit of instant recognition. Before I even knew what this song was about, I knew it was me. A story came rushing to my mind, one not fully apparent in the video (which I enjoy), and I would like to share that story with you. It feels… It is… personal.

My initial idea consisted of a woman at a celebration of sorts, perhaps somewhere in South America. In my mind, it was Brazil. And she was enjoying herself, dancing and laughing during a festival. This was a big festival, one that everyone looked forward to. And she was the belle of all balls. To watch her dance and laugh, was to be inspired.

In all her joy, she turned around to see her significant other kissing someone else. And, feeling so hurt, she was unable to allow herself to accept that it happened, to show any signs of acknowledgement. Although, it slowly becomes apparent to all.

So, she continued dancing… Forever. She never stops, because she knows if she stops, she must face this reality. And so she dances her way out of the festival, down the street, across the city, for all eternity. Smiling and dancing. She becomes mythological. Everyone knows her story. It’s perhaps the first story children are ever told. And she does all this, to keep from feeling the inevitable pain.

For me, this represented a fear that has always lingered in my mind. One that I will someday face. Increasingly people are beginning to accept the idea of an open relationship and I always feared that my partner would find someone of greater privilege and social ranking and fall in love with it. Not them, but the access, the visibility, etc and leave me. This is not an original fear, but has shown its face here and there. But, I plan to face this fear head on, when that day comes.

Being in quarantine, having a film crew of just me, and having the time restraint of about 24 hours, I decided to simplify, to adjust the story. And so it became a combination of hers and mine. For me, it was about the fear of vulnerability. Just as the song… songs. I imagined myself in a wedding dress on my wedding day, wondering if I could actually do it. Be myself. Be goofy. Be focused. Be loving. Be Me. And be accepted by this person. Truly accepted, or would, upon seeing all that is me, they begin to judge me and turn me into their enemy. I imagined being so frightened of this, that I became a giant, out of pure frustration, looking out over the city, watching people, wondering how any of them manage to be so vulnerable. And the backup dancers, I imagine were her. The beautiful woman from Brazil, coming to support me in my lament.

May we all face our illusory fears and grow into that which we are truly meant to be.

I love you.

-Heaven

Crazy/Diva

Heaven on earth beyonce crazy in love

Six weeks ago, I started making micro-films and music videos at home, with no formal training and just my laptop. Here’s where I’m at now.