Former Wall Street Lawyer now musician, Roxana Labatt, has just released her debut single “The Way” on June 19. To add to this song that already hits you in your feelings, is the DIY, nostalgia-heavy music video that has been released just one week later. Read on to learn more about Roxana’s intention and vision for this creation.
Tell us the story of this song, why did you choose to visualize this song specifically in this way?
The inspiration for this song is my belief that people get to define their own identity, including the place they identify as “being from”–even if that place is not where they were born/grew up. I describe the song as my love song to New York City, because New York City is and always will be the place I identify as home. Some people believe you’re never allowed to change the answer to the question “where are you from” (my family used to roll their eyes at me when we traveled together and I answered New York while they answered Texas). But even though I grew up in San Antonio, Texas, I never felt like I belonged there. The first time I visited New York City in high school, I immediately felt that it was the place I was supposed to be. I went to college in New Jersey, interning in New York City during summers and moving to New York City after graduation to attend law school and eventually work at a Wall Street law firm. The bridge of “The Way” addresses the visceral feelings I get when I’m on the plane either about to take off from or just having landed in New York City that I know as the feelings of either leaving from or returning to “home.”
What was the inspiration behind this video (visuals, storyline, etc.)?
I chose to visualize the song as I did in the video in order to highlight the contrast between the place I grew up and New York City. The scenes from San Antonio/childhood places appear during the verses (lyrics and music have a sad/lost quality related to being in a place you don’t belong) and scenes from New York City appear starting at the beginning of each chorus (lyrics and music have a more hopeful/triumphant quality related to searching for and eventually finding the way to the place you do belong). For the opening of the video I chose scenes I thought were pretty strongly associated with San Antonio so they might be recognized as such even by someone who isn’t very familiar with the city–i.e. the Riverwalk and one of the Missions. Similarly, I closed each chorus with an image SUCH AS of One World Trade Center as I thought most people would readily identify those images with New York City.
What was the process of making this video?
Once I conceived the vision for the video, the process of making the video essentially consisted of looking back over years of photos and videos and putting them together in a way that I thought effectively conveyed the message behind the song. I actually wanted to use footage of myself on the flying trapeze in NYC for the bridge portion of the song, but the video quality was too low, so I instead used the horseback riding footage because I love it and because it reflected a similar moment of doing something really terrifying, but ultimately extremely freeing (which I think is a good metaphor for the themes expressed by the song).