Welcome to The Drop, Refinery29's home for music video premieres. We want to shine the spotlight on women artists whose music inspires, excites, and (literally) moves us. This is where we'll champion their voices.
The songwriter behind hits like Halsey’s “Without Me” and Zara Larsson’s “Ruin My Life” is making music of her own. Orange County native Delacey released her debut LP Black Coffee this March, and now, is sharing the music video for her song “Damn” exclusively with Refinery29. The video, which features Delacey holding the hand of an unseen man, was shot on a GoPro at the famed Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, Calif. Here, Delacey talks with Refinery29 about the inspiration behind the track, and how she went from songwriter to front-facing artist.
Refinery29: What inspired the track “Damn”?
Delacey: “The Sophie B. Hawkins song ‘Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover’ has always been one of my favourite songs, ever since I was little. I had just fallen in love with somebody, and I barely knew him but I was already obsessing over him and fantasising about everything that I wanted from him. That song just poured out of me: We only kept Hawkins’ one line, and the original melody. I think it’s a happy song, there’s a bit of a twist to it because who knows if you’re ever going to get this person or if the love is reciprocated, but the production is happy and makes you want to dance.”
How did you come to the idea for the video?
“It was a mix of my creative director, myself, and the person who shot the video. We kind of made the idea up on the spot. We were in the Madonna Inn, shooting a bunch of content. We found this beautiful garden and field and it just felt right for the song. I had never been to the Madonna Inn before, and I always wanted to go there to see it and shoot there. Every single room at the Madonna Inn is different, so we marked which rooms we wanted to do which shoot in. It was like built-in sets!”
What is it like releasing your own music, as opposed to writing for other artists?
“You know, it’s different and the same. I’m always writing from something I’ve gone through, even if it’s a shared experience with another artist. When I wrote this album, I was in a secluded place with my one friend who is a producer. I was in New York, in one studio, in one place, and I knew it was for me. It was a different set of rules. I didn’t have to listen to anyone else’s opinion — it was very much me.”
Do you have a favourite song you wrote for another artist?
“It’s really, really hard to choose. I would say ‘Ruin My Life’ by Zara Larsson because I really loved that song and how it came about.”
What inspires your lyrics? Real life, or your imagination?
“Sometimes I’ll be out living my life and I’ll write down a concept, and in those situations, I’m more imaginative. It may have been something I’ve gone through in the past. That can cater to more clever songwriting. Most of the time, it’s stuff I’m going through in the moment or I can’t really get that into it when I’m writing.”
What advice would you give songwriters who want to become artists?
“It sounds corny, but be true to yourself and what you want to say. Don’t just put out something because you think it’s what people want to hear. Put out something that comes from an honest place.”
The music industry has been criticised for not making a place for women, what are your thoughts on that as a songwriter?
“I’ve always been taken as seriously as any man, but maybe that’s because I demand it as a feminist. Women get the shit end in every industry, in every aspect of life. I do believe it’s getting better, just because of how many strong voices we have right now, and because all of us coming together feels like a force. I hope a lot more women get into producing. A lot of women don’t go that route, and I think it’s a stereotype which sucks. I’m seeing more and more women choose that route, and even me, I’m trying to record myself more and get into engineering so I can be more independent.”
Check out the premiere of "Damn," below: