Video Voyageur: 3Qs with Brittaney Delsarte

Brittaney Delsarte releases her latest single “Southern Life” from her latest EP Call Me Blossom.“Southern Life” begins with a throwback beat, setting the tone for the song. This song is similar to that of late 90s and early 2000s hip-hop and R&B hits. Brittaney creates “Southern Life” using her experiences as she was born and raised in South Carolina. This single discusses all the positive experiences that come from living that southern lifestyle. Releasing an equally as epic video for the single, the piece further helps to bring the song to life. We had the honor of chatting with Brittany for an exclusive Video Voyageur below.

Tell us the story of this song, why did you choose to visualize this song specifically? 

Growing up in South Carolina, it was integral to my well-being that I maintained a strong sense of myself and my heritage as a black woman. The state was famously known for waving the confederate flag above the State House until just six years ago. I’m living where so many marched, bled, and died to secure my basic freedoms. It emboldened me to pursue my dreams. 

I have wanted to live a life rooted in artistry since as long as I could comprehend. Six years ago, I moved to New York without the safety net of my Southern village nor the connections of family members already established in the industry. It hasn’t been easy. I experience loneliness, feelings of isolation, depression, burnout, and yet, the steady flow of my mother and grandmother’s love leads me back to them for nourishment. Family is the compass that guides me. They are the motivation and the inspiration to reach great heights. They are my comfort when I falter, they are a circle of strength and unconditional love.  So I wrote a song that honors the village that raised me into the woman I am today! I am so grateful to have a support system that made me feel worthy and capable of doing anything I set my mind to do. That is how I’ve been able to achieve a lot. I did not make it here alone and so my family, my community deserved this spotlight. 

I wanted to focus on the positive experiences that come from living the Southern life, and without my family, friends, mentors, faith, and admiration for my ancestors, I would not be able to write such a passionate love letter to Columbia, South Carolina. I am so grateful to be the resulting amalgamation of my experiences of growing up as a black millennial southern debutante— simultaneously privileged and marginalized. 

What was the inspiration behind this video(visuals, storyline, etc.)?

I flew back to Columbia, SC to film this video. I shot this video two days after my grandfather’s second year of his accession to heaven. Larry Lebby, was an internationally lauded artist whose works sit in the homes of Oprah Winfrey, James Earl Jones, Eddie Murphy; in the Vatican, the White House, and the Smithsonian! If you’ve watched the Southern Life music video (and you should) You’ll notice his painting in the dinner scene. You’ll also see me sitting on a beautiful tree. That tree Is on the campus of our alma mater University of South Carolina. My grandfather used to sit on that bench and sketch his drawings and so I wanted to shoot a scene there to feel his presence. I miss my grandfather so much his artwork was the inspiration behind the visuals because all of his paintings illuminated splices of the Black Southern Life in such an elegant, wholesome, and prideful way. I wanted to take a lot of those images he created and bring them to life with our family. I come from a multi-faceted family. We can excel in the most corporate of places and still throw a good ole country cookout and play spades and have a good time. We aren’t perfect, but we got into the world fearless and we stay true to our Southern roots no matter where we end up. 

What was the process of making this video?

This is where being a multi-hyphenate comes in handy! It’s the range for me! In addition to being an artist I am also a producer. I’ve produced stage productions, a documentary, and marketing campaigns which is what I currently do. But, there was no way that I could submit acting self-tapes, monitor multiple brand campaigns, produce a narrative piece for an advocacy initiative I’m leading, AND produce this music video by myself! So it was all family and friends on deck! But that’s been the beauty of the video! It gave me the chance to relive the ways in which we bond. My mother and my grandmother have always helped me prepare for a major event! Whether it was cooking the food for the haunted house I project managed when I was in high school, or my mother styling me for performances, and friends helping me with marketing, it’s truly a family affair that I looked forward to reprising. 

I shared my concept with mom and we both agreed that this video must be shot in my hometown of Columbia, South Carolina; and that it should include family and friends that make up the fabric of my early and current life, even down to the food displayed using recipes from my maternal great-grandmother, Vinnie Mae Jones, prepared by my mother and my grandmother. If you know the South then you’ll understand why the table had to have a. Soul food spread. And so on the grounds that I’m a virgo, of course I put together a detailed brief that outlined all aspects of my vision for the video. In the deck was an overview of my creative vision, my bio, my brand, information about my EP ‘Call Me Blossom’ details on the song Southern Life, a scene by scene creative concept, wardrobe and hair concept, prospective shoot dates and locations, cast breakdowns, blurbs for outsourcing a line producer, a director, videographer and editor. 

I put an inquiry on Facebook for recommendations and ended up with more digital resumes than I expected. I found a production company based in North Carolina that did everything in house which was the answer to my prayers. However comma space It just wasn’t a good fit. With my mom being a retired police officer she makes it appoint vet any legal documents that are sent to me, and so due to having multiple conflicts with the production team we decide to part ways two weeks before the shooting date. But, as always, family comes through yet again! I have a cousin in North Carolina that’s a filmmaker and he connected me to his colleague that he knew would get the job done and we were able to reset quickly. We locked in his team, my fierce woman producer friend based in New York came on-board as my line-producer and after several zoom calls we kicked off production! 

My mother was my right hand person, acting as my field producer, my stylist, my chef. When I flew back to South Carolina and my grandmother and my mommy picked me up from the airport I knew the real  dream team was truly back together! We hit the ground running. Shopping for props, food, additional clothing pieces, final alterations, practicing what kind of hairstyles I’m going to have for each of the scenes! My mother and my grandmother stayed up all night making the soul food for the family dinner scene.  While they cooked, I was in dance rehearsal, and taking care of every aspect of the project. We barely slept, and bless my mom and granny’s hearts, they stayed up until  4am only for my mom to wake up an hour later to do my hair so that I could make my 7:30am call time. 

My gown designer, Doreen, from Labelle Couture,  collaborated with me in designing the beautiful lace blossom gown! Our collaboration was magical despite working together virtually – I was in NY and she’s in Miami! She fully embraced my concept and shared with me her brilliant ideas for how we can really push the envelope! I sent her my measurements, she got the fabric I wanted and would send me videos of her progress! She mailed my gown to South Carolina! And was adamant that I have a dress rehearsal and alterations. She gave me words of affirmations that my video shoot would go well and it did! Doreen, thank you for your friendliness, for sharing your talent with me, and for your commitment to making sure I got the Millennial Southern Belle opulence sensation I asked for! 

My cousin (the guy dancing in the purple shirt) was our choreographer! He was also the PA assistant, the waterboy, the hair curler, and the nurse (he’s an RN literally) I told ya’’ll it truly takes a village. Nobody was safe! One of my best friends drove 16 hours to be my on-set makeup artist, and since my line-producer couldn’t come down to South Carolina I made my God-brother be the production assistant. 

Originally, I casted 40 family members and friends, only 17 showed up, but in hindsight that was the perfect number. The video didn’t look oversaturated and at the end of the day, the people that showed up were there and we had such a great time. But what warmed my heart was being able to dance with my siblings and my cousins! 

If you didn’t make up dance routines with your cousins and siblings your childhood wasn’t lit! Growing up I had a rough time in school. I was bullied by my peers and at the time I was confused as to why. My mother dressed me well, I was very friendly and kind, but I still had a difficult time socially. I was lonely and so I relied on music. I ate, slept and breathed music and singing. I used to force my siblings and my cousins to perform with me and they went along with every pretend music video I created, every dance number I wanted them to learn and every pretend group I morphed us into! They never told me no! They let me Debbie Allen the hell out of them and they kept following me! 

Spending time with them communing with fun, love, and laughter are the moments that make my heart full. I wanted y’all to see what happens when we Join together and brighten each other’s day, sharing good vibes.  Creating art with them has always made me feel accepted, seen, and empowered that eventually I stopped worrying about the people who made me feel invisible. This is why these scenes are so special to me because we were reliving our childhood! It was so nostalgic!

Find Brittaney via:

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn | TikTok | Spotify | SoundCloud


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