Sedona is a filmmaker and singer/songwriter. Her self-directed music video for her debut single, “Call Me Up,” premiering today exclusively on office, is a bubblegum 60’s pop fantasy with hypnotic undertones of playfulness and tenacity. As a twenty-one year old LA native living in Brooklyn, she spoke to me about the creative origins of her video and upcoming album. “The concept behind the album deals with the struggle between the person you are when you’re alone versus the person you are when you’re around others,” she explains. “You have these two juxtaposed lifestyles—one is very wild and untamed in the forest, isolated. The other is very domestic and communal. But both images deal with building your own community and making your own world in order to survive.”
Being with Rachel, you would never know that she has any qualms about putting herself out there. Her long dark hair, witchy sense of humor, and eclectic personal style put you—be it a new friend, acquaintance, or passerby—right at ease. While we talk on the phone, Rachel abruptly stops mid-sentence to greet somebody in her neighborhood and ask them if she can put up a flyer for a gig she’s DJing. But for a young woman hustling to finish college and launch her career, Rachel has had to reckon with her insecurities in order to execute this film. “One of my biggest weaknesses is not trusting others,” she confides. “The fact that so many people stood by my side for months of planning, building, and shooting gives me a whole new understanding of what trust means.”
After pouring through her list of Facebook friends and writing down the names of everyone she thought would be able to offer something special to the project, Rachel sent out a script for her music video, a treatment, and a moodboard. She and a core group of friends spent months planning, choreographing, procuring permits for locations, reserving rehearsal spaces, and gathering a group of friends to be in the video. Although she wears many hats, she made it clear to me that this project was born out of a collection of friends and artists trying to turn what Rachel describes as an initial “creative brainfart” into an audio-visual reality.
This sense of teamwork and community is evident as Rachel recounts the story of shooting the first scene of the video: “We rented a 16-foot box truck and woke up at 3 am after spending the whole night building a human-sized bird nest,” she begins. “Then we loaded up the truck, drove upstate, waited for the sun to rise so we could get access to the park we were shooting in, all-the-while it was 30 degrees and I was barefoot in a dress thinner than silk. We shot for 12 hours in that weather and I was getting hypothermia, so my friends started pouring hot coffee on my feet and my arms to keep me from turning blue. It was crazy.”
On the song itself, Rachel describes “Call Me Up” as a moment for self-love. During our conversation I ask Rachel, somewhat naively, who “Call Me Up” was for. She told me that she wrote the song during a challenging moment of transition. It was a love song she wrote for somebody, but she didn’t know who. “Is this for my boyfriend? Is this for my family?” She asks herself. “And then it slowly just became something that I wrote for myself, which felt really good to admit. It’s easy to say that something is for someone else, or to do things for someone else. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to give as much as I can to other people, but I’m starting to make an active effort to do the same for myself.”
Throughout our conversation, she repeatedly asserts that this project was developed to create a space for all types of women, femmes, and dialogues. The enticing world of “Call Me Up” that we see in the film is a salutation, a welcome home. Sedona and her babes greet you with open arms, indicating that this space is for you, too. Still, despite having the love and creative support of her friends and colleagues, the difficulty in being a young female artist persist. “Being a woman in the music and film industry can be exhausting at times. People don’t take you as seriously,” Rachel states firmly. “There were multiple moments where I was not being heard and it was discouraging. But then you just have a glass of wine and cry it out. And then you get up and try again the next day.”
Makeup by Shideh Kafel and Chris Tabassi
Hair by Luca Ponce and Akina Shimizu