Ebonie G • So Called Love
A surrealist adventure
So Called Love is the fourth music video from Ebonie G’s debut album I Am Beautiful Inspiration, and tells the story of a seemingly abusive relationship between a married couple. On the surface, director duo Joseph Madden & Patrick Larder create a concept-led, surrealist adventure, while thematically exploring the very serious issues of mental illness and domestic abuse.
Our first impression on hearing the song was the contrast between the laid back, easy listening vibe of the music and the darker, painful lyrics, and each tugged at a different direction for the visuals. Ebonie G explained the meaning behind the song was a story of a woman struggling with mental illness, who believed herself to be in an abusive relationship, but was unknowingly abusing her partner who was trying his best to care for her.
Setting the tone
We loved both the raw emotion and disturbing twist in Ebonie’s story, but agreed that this would be too heavy handed if told as a conventional narrative. We wanted to create a concept-led piece informed by this narrative, but which could be appreciated without understanding or even being aware of the story, which recognised the uplifting vibe of the music as well as the darkness of the lyrics.
An ambitious vision
We told the story of a strained relationship through the medium of interpretive dance between a domestic couple, and hinted at the mental delusion underpinning this by setting it in a surreal, otherworldly location of a living room that exists in the middle of a field. Over the course of the song, this otherworld starts to collapse, and jarring cuts to a much more sombre reality reveal the truth.
Method to the madness
We recruited choreographer Victoria Bastable to help us tell this story, and for months spent our evenings and weekends in dance studios creating and rehearsing the routine. As we moved closer to the shoot date we moved these rehearsals to local parks so that Ebonie and Nathan could get used to dancing on an uneven, earthy surface. We made sure to include our Director of Photography Tom Allen in these rehearsals so that the flowing camera moves would feel as much a part of the choreography as the dancers themselves.
Producers Ida Wibe Hagen and Rory Yeung were charged with the considerable task of making this wildly impractical idea a reality on a shoestring budget. From sourcing, transporting and building an entire living room in two locations, to obtaining permits not only to film in public, but to dance and throw paint around, this really was a labour of love.
A rising star
Ebonie G, started singing and songwriting at the age of 9 and has not looked back since. In 2015 she toured her debut album titled ‘I Am Beautiful Inspiration’. Her 1st single ‘Keep On Going’ was released on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify which gained a nomination for ‘Best Female Video and ‘Best Soul/R’n’B video’ at the first ever Jump Music Video Awards.
Starring: Ebonie G and Nathan Garwood
Choreographer: Victoria Bastable
Director of Photography: Tom Allen
Make-up Artist: Sharon Rose
Camera Assistant: Raul Menendez
Colourist: Jack Ayers
Produced by CAVSOC in collaboration with Mini Productions