Exclusive Premiere: Check Out The Debut Music Video From Denton’s Kaela Sinclair.
Like many a talented Denton-sprung musician before her, Florida native Kaela Sinclair was drawn to the region by the University of North Texas’ renowned jazz program.
Unlike so many of the school’s more pop- and rock-inclined sorta-products, though, the 23-year-old Sinclair actually graduated from the school’s intense program in 2012. Still, the draw of pop music still took her away from jazz all the same: In October 2013, Sinclair released her debut LP, Sun & Mirror, a perhaps somewhat jazz-indebted released, but one that most trends toward dramatic, often-morose and unquestionably gorgeous pop — thanks in no small part of Sinclair’s lilting vocals, which pair impeccably with the disc’s intricate arrangements.
Produced in tandem with Midlake drummer McKenzie Smith the album — which also features performances from Smith, plus Dark Rooms’ Daniel Hart (violin), The Polyphonic Spree’s Buffi Jacobs (cello) and Midlake’s Joey McClellan (guitar and bass) and Jesse Chandler (various instruments) — the album has turned a number of heads in a short time.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram pop music critic Preston Jones named Sun & Mirror as his single favorite local album of 2013. The Dallas Observer, meanwhile, called Sinclair out as a local artist poised to make waves in 2014. And we at Central Track have hardly been immune to heaping out praise on the young performer, either, remarking that she just may be poised to “become the Little D’s next big thing.”
Which all leads to this: Here, we’re happy to present the exclusive online premiere of Sinclair’s music video for “Ghosts You’ve Won,” the lead-off track on her impressive debut. Directed by Cameron J. Smith, the hazy clip pairs quite well with Sinclair’s sonic styling, we think. Check it our below, then stick around for a brief Q&A with Sinclair about the song and her early successes in the North Texas music realm.
Tell me a little about this song and what it means to you.
It’s one of my favorite songs from the album. It’s really about going through phases of being able to cope, and then all of a sudden not being able to cope. It’s about working hard to get yourself psychologically stable — and then having it all come undone without warning. The “ghosts” are the faint remembrances of painful things that have haunted you. The “glorious ravine, underneath a golden sun” is the place where you have made peace with the ghosts of your past and taken control of your own mind. The album as a whole really deals with coming to terms with your own shortcomings — and the shortcomings of the world — and finding a way to create beauty despite them.
How does the video reflect this concept? Who shot it?
The video was filmed by Cameron J. Smith, who has made films for The Polyphonic Spree, Seryn, Balmorhea and Bethan, to name a few. The lyrics to the song are a bit abstract, so I didn’t want the video to be too direct. I wanted it to feel dreamlike, using certain camera effects to make you feel like you’re really in my head, creating a feeling of intimacy. The lyrics use a lot of winter imagery — I wrote the song in the winter of 2012 — and we were doing some of the filming when the ice storm hit. It was a challenge filming in the cold, but it led to some beautiful ice and snow shots.
How’d you link up with McKenzie Smith? He’s been a huge advocate of yours, I know.
We met briefly through a friend. Shortly after, I reached out and basically just asked him to work with me in some way. I’ve been a fan of Midlake since my high school days in Florida, and had heard him playing drums for Regina Spektor, St. Vincent and Sarah Jaffe. Not only did he say yes, but he became involved as a producer and musical partner as well.
What’s your plan for 2014?
More shows, for sure. Possibly some festival-related things. A collaboration or two, and more videos. A lot of things are in the works right now. I’m also writing new songs.
Kaela Sinclair next performs on Friday, February 7, at Lola’s Saloon in Fort Worth and then on Friday, February 14, at The Prophet Bar in Dallas.