First Watch: Mirel Wagner, 'To The Bone'

A simple approach is often the most affecting. In "To The Bone," the latest video from folk and blues artist Mirel Wagner, the singer slowly rises and sinks in a black pool of water, illuminated only by the faintest light. Wagner slowly turns, falls back, and rises again before something pulls her back under. It's both a seductive and unsettling metaphor for love's darker side.

In an email, Wagner described how the video came together.

"It was at night when we started, I think around 12 o'clock at night, and I was already quite tired after traveling about six hours from London. I was very tired and swimming in that swimming pool we had rented for the night. I had a black cloth to weigh me down a bit and I think that added to the feeling of desperation going on. The water wasn't that cold, but after swimming awhile you get cold. We weren't able to listen to the song b/c we were at the pool, but I just played the song in my head and thought about death and other things while I paddled. We did about four hours and we had very many breaks because I couldn't swim all that time. I was positively surprised when I saw the video because I knew Aki had this vision, and I was able to see parts of it while we were filming, but I just followed his directions. It paid off because the end result works very well."

The spare, stark production in "To The Bone" was a natural fit for Director Aki Roukala, who writes:

"I wanted to shoot a video that would fit to the song's thick, black atmosphere. The song itself is so emotional and I wanted to turn that desperation into pictures. My background is in photography, so I prefer motionless pictures. I feel this video is more like a study or a portrait of Mirel Wagner than a regular music video."

"To The Bone" is from Mirel Wagner's self-titled debut. We first discovered the singer's haunting voice while searching through the thousands of artists who performed at this year's South By Southwest festival. We featured her song "No Death" on our SXSW preview edition of All Songs Considered. Wagner, who was born in Ethiopia but grew up in Finland, is currently on tour in Canada and will tour the U.S. in September.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.