By: Shayla Lee
Melancholic, ethereal, and honest are three words that I would use to describe Lindsay Kay’s music. The Canadian-born, LA-based musician has been hard at work this year and will be releasing her debut album ‘For The Feminine, By The Feminine’ on October 5th. Lindsay describes the album as “a meditation on femininity” and the album was created by an entirely female-identifying team from start to finish.
‘Too’ is Lindsay’s first track off of her upcoming album and although the song may sound soft, Lindsay’s message could not be clearer. Carefully weaving her ethereal voice with a beautiful combination of strings and horns, Lindsay addresses embracing femininity in ‘Too.’
Last month Lindsay brought ‘Too’ to life in a stunning music video. The video is very Lorde-esque and features high fashion, beautiful locations, and stunning visuals. I chatted with Lindsay about what inspired her to write ‘Too’ and the creation process of the music video.
Femme Riot: I absolutely love ‘Too!’ The lyrics are beautiful and a standout to me is “I’m not your silent muse”. What lead to the creation of this song and can you tell us more about it?
Lindsay Kay: Thank you so much! That’s one of my favorite lyrics in the song as well. “Too” was probably the second or third song I wrote for the album, and the interesting thing about this song, and another couple of songs on the album, is that I don’t really remember every detail of how I wrote it and what the process was like, because it came to me pretty quickly. It was one of those gifts from the songwriting gods, so the process almost feels like a dream in those cases. I don’t remember exactly where the idea came from – whether I had some words jotted down in my phone or written in a notebook from an earlier time, which is sometimes how I get started, or if it just kind of came to me – but once I landed on the “theme” of the song, things started to flood out. I clearly had a lot of thoughts and feelings on the subject of being oppressed and unseen… more than I even knew I had. I do remember not only drawing from my own experiences, but also thinking about my friends and the women in my life who have gone through abusive relationships and have made themselves small to make their partners feel bigger. This was definitely one of the more cathartic songs I’ve ever written and it’s really special to me, which I why I chose to make it into a video.
You just released your music video for ‘Too’ and it adds beautiful depth to the song. I found myself watching it multiple times because it is so artistically stunning. How did it feel to bring your ideas to life on a visual level? What was it like working with Anastasia Lebedeva on the project?
Bringing to life the visuals I had in my head was a unique joy. As I write music, visuals usually come into my mind along with the musical ideas, so my writing notebook is full of not only lyrics, but tons of sketches and ideas for videos, photos, etc. So, many of the visuals you see in the video, I had conceptualized over a year before while writing the song, and getting to finally see those realized was so thrilling and exciting after waiting for so long. Art directing is something I feel really passionate about, and scouting the locations and finding the wardrobe and having conversations about shots and color was so inspiring. I’m truly so proud of the video – it came out even better than I expected it to, especially considering we basically had no budget and everyone involved worked for free to help the cause.
Working with Anastasia was so gratifying and fantastic. She’s become a really close friend and I know we will continue collaborating on more projects for years to come. We create together really well, and we have a similar work ethic and standard of quality. She was one of the first people I’ve ever met who works as tirelessly as I do to make things above and beyond and completely unique. We also have really similar taste, and pretty much every step of the way we were really in synch with each other and what we wanted things to look like. I felt so safe to try weird, potentially even bad ideas with her, and I think feeling freedom to fail is so essential when you’re creating. The video was definitely a labor of love, and it was us calling in a lot of favors and doing a ton of the work just the two of us (ie: the two of us hauling heavy camera equipment up a hill in Malibu at 5:30 am to get the perfect morning fog shot, freezing our asses off!) but it almost made it even more gratifying because nothing was handed to us.
Fashion was a stand-out element throughout the video and the pieces all had me in awe. Can you tell us more about the specific pieces you chose for ‘Too’ and how it all came together?
Yes! Fashion is a great love of my life, and I love expressing myself through what I wear. I also feel like, when it comes to singer-songwriters and women who make more acoustic, folky music like I make, people expect us to show up wearing like, a hemp skirt and a fedora or something. And certainly there’s nothing wrong with that, but that isn’t me, and just because I don’t make dance music or pop music doesn’t mean I can’t represent myself in beautiful, interesting clothes, you know? This felt like a unique opportunity to feature female designers, and because Anastasia trusted my eye, I knew she would love the clothes too and find amazing ways to feature them.
I started looking around on Instagram to see what was out there, and ended up going down a massive black hole of recent design school graduates and young up-and-coming female designers. I got really obsessed for a few weeks, and I found these 5 amazing women whose clothes I fell in love with. Each garment I chose made a statement and felt very in line with the message of the song and video. I honestly didn’t think any of them would be willing to lend us their clothes – they are all such beautiful, one of a kind pieces, and we didn’t have any wardrobe budget at all. But all 5 of them said yes and were so generous! And thank god they did, because this video truly wouldn’t be what it is without the fashion. I mean, a dress with the words “ugly, disgusting, hideous, gross” on one side and “beautiful, sexy, gorgeous, fabulous” on the other? A mesh jumpsuit with “good enough” stitched into it?! I couldn’t have asked for more perfect clothes that aligned with the ethos of this project. The garments told their own stories. These designers were based all over the world: we had Tove Berkner-Wik who is based in Sweden, Blindeyes based in Hong Kong, Isabel Hall based in New York, Ruby Russell based in Belgium, and Jennifer Larsson also based in Sweden. I’m so grateful to these women and hope to wear more of their designs in the future.
What do you hope people will take away from watching the music video?
Ah, well, who am I to dictate what people should feel after watching my work… that would be presumptuous! All I can really hope for is that they feel something. Anything! If it’s discomfort or anger or joy or melancholy or comfort, or even just “wow, that was pretty,” or “I really liked the colors,” then that’s perfect. Of course the video centers around femininity and the female spirit, but we weren’t aiming to tell any kind of obvious story or explicit narrative, but rather we wanted to weave together beautiful images that celebrated and honored the feminine experience.