Missy was a superb producer, songwriter, singer and rapper already, but in many ways her ultimate legacy was probably built on the amazing music videos which accompanied her work. Missy’s videos were always memorable and even now, decades after the MTV era, she makes visuals that have a lasting impact. Her recent performance at the VMA’s was a mind-blowing summary of her career, and her new tune “Throw it back” sat in there effortlessly.
Hype Williams deserves a lot of the credit for creating the afro-futuristic videos which will be remembered forever, but there is no doubt that’s Missy’s vision was central to everything. She has had a lot of health problems lately, but she is back to her best, and we can only hope that the next chapter of an amazing career will continue to inspire. The music game has changed substantially over the years but the importance of visuals is nothing new really.
Music and visuals have always been a powerful combination and the history of music video goes deep into an era even before music television started. Previously music videos had been used effectively for promotional purposes but in the 1980s music video became mainstream and the success of MTV and other channels were central to the success of some of the biggest music of that era. It’s hard to think back on those days of Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna and others without remembering the videos that helped propel some of the songs to fame, and as the 80s and 90s progressed videos became increasingly big budget.
Hip-hop and r&b’s real commercial explosion in the 90s was also closely tied to music videos and as time has progressed music videos have continued to be integral to the success of many music artists. MTV doesn’t seem to bother with much music these days, bar some tracks accompanying reality TV shows, but music videos themselves have survived and continue to be platformed on youtube, facebook and other social media outlets. Artists such as Hozier, whose music video was made in Cork by Feel Good Lost, became an international superstar on the strength of this video, and music videos remain a powerful way of bringing an artists vision to life. The Hozier video was based on a great idea and some superb acting by it’s young Cork cast, and of course a great song. But it also showed that even artists without a huge budget can create something amazing.
Here in Cork there are tons of independent artists creating quality visuals all of the time, and it’s a great way for videographers, photographers, actors, dancers, singers, rappers or other artists to cross collaborate and create something iconic and fresh. One such artist is Patrick O’Donnell, who’s forthcoming Beyond the Wash project features multiple artistic collabs that spawn across multiple genres. A mind-blowing video for “Dusktime” drops at the end of this month, shot by the amazing Ignas Laugalis and featuring styling, choreography, acting and dancing by Andrea Williams. Patricks forthcoming Beyond the Wash project also features other artistic elements besides the music, and it’s a great way of spreading ones artistic vision through other avenues. The artistic talent in Cork and elsewhere is spellbinding and it’s logical that artists of different disciplines would work together.
It’s very hard to get music heard these days and there is so much music and bands and singers and rappers that sometimes it becomes almost too overwhelming for those trying their best to get it out there. I’ve been in this boat myself and still do it, but it’s very difficult and a lot of pressure from a financial perspective.
Most artists here and elsewhere probably have to pay for their art through other work but this is the way of the world and getting creative with the promotion of it can be as important as the creativity that goes into making it first day. Hopefully many of those making great music and videos will see some reward!