Video Voyageur: 3Qs with Ian Arden

Ian Arden, the twenty-something Toronto troubadour was raised in a French Canadian and Moroccan household. When Ian began speaking as a toddler, he struggled with a stammer. Speech therapy showed meager results at best, so his father began teaching him to recite song lyrics from memory, mainly focusing on the songs of Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon and Bob Dylan. Every night, a new song was chosen, and Ian would repeat the song’s lyrics again and again until they were recited in their entirety with no stammer and no accent.

For Ian, his debut single, “Nadia,” was written in one emotional and traumatic night. The song is about compassion and concern for a loved one who is struggling with opioids or mental health. “Nadia” serves as a reminder that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

We spoke with Ian to dive into the new video for “Nadia” which you can dive into below!

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

Nadia was written in one night. Someone very close to me had been suffering for quite some time, and I noticed some of our other friends weren’t treating her very well. This person was often moved to tears by the insensitivity of others, and listening to her scream in agony was more than I could bear.

I chose to visualize this song because numerous people told me the song was their favourite, and the consoling coda “there’s a lion in her soul” comforted just about everybody who heard it.

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

Director David J Redman from RedTip Productions was the real visionary behind this video. The Nadia character, played by the wonderful Nicole Farrugia, goes through many different states of consciousness. Each of these beautiful bardos represents a vignette into the world of Nadia’s psyche. 

Some states are heavenly, while others evoke pure terror.

The decision to include footage of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech was really David’s idea. David’s enthusiasm and professionalism are truly unparalleled, and it was a spot on decision. 

FDR represented hope for millions during the Great Depression. If anybody could console Nadia, he could.

What was the process of making this video?

None of this would have been possible without Nicole Farrugia, who is so beautiful and yet so delicate. “Nadia” means “tender” or “delicate” in Arabic, and casting Nicole was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Alex Rozanec was a great producer in that he ensured everyone he hired was a real pro. 

Working with Treplam and RedTip Productions was a dream. 

I was fairly uninvolved on shoot day, but the pre-production process was a different story. I was pretty hands on. I was quite adamant about casting Nicole Farrugia, as she stood out among the hundreds of actresses in the running. 

Nicole also graces the cover of my album “Songs for Rebecca.” I’m so happy with the cover. It could be on display in a museum. Nicole is so mesmerizing, and she’s been a great collaborator throughout this process. She’s very excited to be involved, and that’s a testament to the incredible team that worked on this precious project.

I also want to shout out Pie in the Sky Studios, where the video was shot. If you’re looking to shoot professional video or photography in Toronto, you need to go there. It was such a blast. 


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