BlackBook Premiere: Willa Amai’s Starkly Visceral Video For New Single ‘Fallout’
Some still remember Linda Perry as a member of the beloved ’90s female alt rock quartet 4 Non Blondes. But if you hadn’t been paying closer attention, since 2001 she’s actually played hitmaker to some of the tip toppiest talent in the pop universe, writing and producing chart climbers for the likes of Pink, Gwen Stefani and especially Christina Aguilera. More recently she’s penned unforgettable numbers for Ariana Grande and even Miley Cyrus.
So that she’s also been playing mentor to burgeoning 17-year-old LA songstress Willa Amai for what is going on about five years now says much about the former’s belief in the latter’s considerable and still developing talent. Amai has just released her debut album, the slyly titled I Can Go to Bed Whenever, and it exhibits a maturity not generally associated with one’s later high school years.
She claims to construct her exquisite melodies from the condition of her synesthesia (to understand what that is, imagine, if you can, smelling colors). But her words are undoubtedly straight from the gut, and she bravely doesn’t shrink from an emotional fight – as is clear from the lyrics to new single ‘Fallout,’ the video for which BlackBook premieres here.
“So you pushed me away / Don’t call me a coward / Insatiable, forever hungry / Look at what you devoured / There’s debris scattered all about / Claim to be a mighty powerhouse / But can you survive the fallout?”
And really, who would wish to be on the receiving end of that takedown?
Musically, the song builds from a haunted, starkly minimalist ballad to an all-out sonic catharsis, reminding of Radiohead‘s ability to construct a spine-chilling dramatic arc (think: ‘Fake Plastic Trees’).
In the accompanying video Amai is given a kind of visual halo – but rather than signaling some sort of divinity, it seems to be closing in on her, giving the whole thing something of a visceral claustrophobia. So it’s perhaps even a bit accidentally metaphorical for a time when we’ve all found ourselves trapped inside of our four walls and been forced into perhaps even unwelcome introspection.
She explains, “The ‘Fallout’ video is really just a visual representation of the way so many emotions can meld together. The song itself reconciles with this fact, thus the video had to express it visually – and I think it does that perfectly.”
Expect to be hearing much more about Ms. Amai in the coming months.