‘Making you feel a mass of genuine emotions, it’s a film that perfectly highlights Lo’s unique approach.’
Unlike the majority of music videos, the visuals for Lo Lauren’s new release ‘Easier’ delivers a truly cinematic approach and sees the track itself take a backseat. However, while you may feel this belies the whole purpose of a music video, what you have to bear in mind is that there is a real purpose to what she is presenting. Combining musical and acting qualities gained through studying at The BRIT School, Lo Lauren turns the feelings heard within ‘Easier’ into a visual that highlights how rare an artist she is. Don’t expect over-produced special effects, choreography or other distractions to greet you. Instead, prepare yourself for a film that, in a completely believable and unforced way, transfers the connection generated by the release itself on to the screen.
Truly enhancing the musical story to the full, throughout the film both spoken and directive aspects make us part Lo Lauren’s world. Projecting happiness, the first of three contrasting monologues that will drive the story along, sees Lo beaming with excitement felt near the start of a relationship. It’s filled with positivity and joy, and acted in such a genuine way, you really feel a sense of connection. Equally, with camera direction shifting between slow zoom and close-ups, we can take in the countless nods to lyricism that fill the caravan setting, and experience Lo’s initial emotions to the full. But as you can imagine, generating such an air of realism doesn’t happen overnight.
“Myself and Sam Sure – who I worked with on my previous release ‘Just Friends’ – wrote the monologue. We’re both songwriters so it’s really fun for us to write creatively, but for film. They’re both about creating a story, however, where songwriting is about fitting that story to melody and production, screenwriting is more conversational and allows you to say whatever you want, without having to worry about rhyming. We also wanted to have a similar approach as before, so we sat down in our Soho studio, brainstormed ideas, drafted up a script, and rehearsed the performance for a few nights in the weeks leading up to the shoot.” And this amount of preparation certainly pays off.
Regardless of what scene you are watching, as you move through the film you continually find yourself re-registering just how strong Lo’s acting is. Centred around conflicting feelings, her expressions within the middle monologue shift seamlessly. Undercurrents of uncertainty and self-realisation, mix with disbelief and restrained happiness. Meanwhile, the controlled tonal emphasis brought to relationship based phrases such as “Why does it feel like he’s the only one getting what he really wants?”, and “I feel honoured to be in his presence”, feel incredibly emotive. And, judging by the initial reactions from people, it’s clear I’m not the only one to think this.
“The response has been wicked” says Lo, “I’ve noticed it really related to a lot of people as they felt they had been through similar situations. This was amazing because that was my aim really – to make people feel heard and like they weren’t alone.” It’s fair to say that that aim has most definitely been achieved. However, as Lo explains, getting those emotions across in the right way was all about practice and thinking beyond the words.
“I must say I find the sad parts easiest haha! I just try and think about what I’m saying, as I’m saying it and how it makes me feel in my body and mind, rather than just reeling off lines! I also rehearsed a lot beforehand so I could think about the performance rather than the script.” I’m sure we’ve all seen performances or watched films where a moment has felt over-dramatised or not quite right, but you never feel this here. This though, while driven by Lo’s aforementioned qualities, is also down to working with the right team.
“I’m very grateful for all the lovely feedback and am excited to keep on making art to accompany my songs!”
“Alex [the director] reached out to me after I released my first song, ‘Just Friends’ as he found me on BBC Introducing and really liked the vibe. We’re both from Kent and he’s been wanting to work on more homegrown projects so it was a sick fit! As an aside, the old caravan [where the film is set] is actually in my nan’s back garden so we had homegrown roots there too! He brought along two of his colleagues, and I brought along 2 from my team, including Sam who I worked with on the Just Friends monologue.”
Highlighting how key it is to have the right team and shared vision, as we progress through those previous spoken phrases, shots become increasingly centred around widening angles. Cutting in close-ups here and there, the combination creates a visual that truly reflects the feelings Lo is projecting. Equally, with us being taken further away from her, the distancing occurring in the relationship is represented in a visually poetic way too. Taking this sense of connection further still, with the final monologue being framed in close up, as Lo’s emotions shift from anger and rawness to clarity and resolution, you genuinely feel like you are there. To be honest, it’s all rather beautiful.
With the focus of the film to this point being speech centred, other than brief underscore like fragments we haven’t really experienced the track at all. However, like the changes of camera angle, these emerge at just the right moments and enhance the inner feelings when they do. Done so stylishly, you may imagine they have been plotted out by a sound designer. But as Lo tells us, this atmospheric edge was created by her.“It was my first time, but I just did what I felt it needed, and used a combination of parts from the song and FX. I’m actually quite proud of it!” Though subtle, it takes real understanding of what you are after to place them so perfectly. Something which also passes into other areas of the production too.
“While Alex was heavily involved in sitting down with the grader, and suggesting final looks and colours, he always ran it by me which was so lovely! It was great to work with a crew that kept me so involved with all the decisions, and in turn this made the piece feel as real as possible.” Wonderfully for us, and most probably Lo as well, this also enabled her to utilise her synesthesia. “I’ve always kinda felt like songs were certain colours. I like the artwork and all the visuals to reflect the colour, and it definitely helps with aesthetic decisions. It’s not a big thing, just something I feel. I do always feel a little weird saying it out loud though!”
Ensuring that this ever successful combination of influences and qualities push right to the end of the film, while the focus shifts, all elements remain key. The most notable changes though are that we now experience the track, and see where Lo’s thoughts have been heading. Juxtaposing the thought-filled lyricism we hear with cross-cut visuals of lighters, petrol cans and previous scenes, it’s a truly stunning way bring the storyline to a close. Therefore it’s wonderful to know that she “would love to continue writing, and creating little scenes, and pieces of drama that explore tracks from new perspective”. Lo, we would all love that too.
Thanks Lo Lauren for chatting with Listen to Discover
Find out more about Lo Lauren at:
Track Review: Lo Lauren: Easier