On Creating Magic

By Anna Dowd

The third single from Bek-Jean Stewart’s forthcoming album ‘Fierce Attachments’ has dropped, and with it, a stunning video clip and local collaboration. We caught up with singer- songwriter Bek- Jean, videographer Jay Black and dancer Celeste Abell to find out about the creative process behind it’s creation.

Where did the collaboration on the film clip for ‘Your Brother’s car’ start for you?

Bek-Jean: My vision was very much dictated by the song itself. The initial words that came to me were emptiness, space, intimacy and longing. So with the shooting I wanted capture that sense of hollowness in a large hall. I knew Jay would run brilliance with my vision. I story boarded it to her, she got totally excited and away we went. Then I shared it with Celeste who ran with it too, and I knew I had my team. Somewhere inside me I knew this would not just work, it would be a beautiful piece of art.

Jay: Bek-Jean and I have collaborated on many projects together– album covers, film clips and photoshoots. I love the way her mind works, so creative and fun. I love the way she performs in front of the camera, no S#%$’s to give! I feel like we’re on a similar wavelength. I’ve also worked with Celeste. I first noticed her dancing Flamenco at a WOW (Women of the World) event and was transfixed, it was great to have this opportunity to film her dancing. 

Celeste: Bek-Jean asked if I would do a solo piece for this new song of hers. She’d never seen me dance before, a brave move I thought. So I said, why not! I got to the venue, she fed me curry, and we began.

What was your part in the creative process and how did you go about it?

Bek-Jean: As a songwriter my part was telling the story, or rather singing the story. So the foundation was there for the rest of us to build on. My new record ‘Fierce Attachments’ was born out of pure sadness, heartache and the desire to be unrestrictedly honest with myself, a total emancipation of everything within.

Jay:  I filmed, directed, and edited the video. As soon as BJ mentioned she wanted Celeste dancing in a hall, I knew I wanted a desaturated and cinematic clip with a beautiful simple wide shot. Originally we thought it would be just one take but after filming the close up sections, I knew we had to cut in with those shots. Celeste hadn’t yet heard the song, so we filmed one take as she danced out the song, then another take after hearing the song. I think we were there for maybe just over an hour.  

Celeste: With some experience in improvised movement, sometimes called choreography in real time, I was intrigued when Bek-Jean told me she wanted to capture the raw and intimate moment of me hearing ‘Your Brother’s Car’ for the first time. The viewers would see how the song enters my ears, my skin, my being. What inner impulses would arise in response to this music and how would that come out in a physical form? So with the camera rolling, she pressed play on the track, and that’s what you see in the film clip.

What did you love about making this film clip?

Bek-Jean: The absolutely spontaneous nature of it. That I got to collaborate with strong, talented women where the possibilities are boundless. I loved that Celeste, who you’d assume would have been the most nervous about the process considering she hadn’t heard the song, was one hundred percent present. It’s kinda like we all held the space for each other somehow!

Jay:  As I was editing the video, I was seduced by the song and mesmerised by Celeste dancing, it is so emotive and engaging. I was really happy with the final version of the clip, and it was such a pleasure working with these two talented women. 

Celeste: I loved creating this with such competent artists. Bek-Jean’s song is so evocative it easily carries listeners along the journey. Jay’s use of simple and clean framing and editing choices brings the viewer through the song also. The movement embodies the essence of the lyrics and sentiment that went into the song. This was the intention – to be open and vulnerable. And that’s the honesty you see in this film clip.

Check them out
Bek-Jean Stewart: bekjeanstewart.com
Jay Black: andthetrees.com
Celeste Abell: Linea Movement Company (on Facebook). Filmclip: Bek-Jean Stewarts Youtube page.