Introducing: Jamie Drake’s “Redwood Tree”

A new music video, plus some words on it from director Marke Johnson and the artist herself.

“Redwood Tree” is a joyous song, celebrating the creation of music itself, so it made sense to have fun with the video. It was a team effort all around — coming together over time, with all the right elements, people and ideas — similar to Kristen Meyer’s collage art for the album and single covers.

The process:

The song was written and produced by AJ Minette and myself back in 2017. I had done a photo shoot with Kathryna Hancock over a year ago for new press photos, which then turned into the basis of the art for the album cover and singles. We brought The Made Shop on board to continue guiding the art direction for this release — which worked seamlessly — so pulling them in to work on the “Redwood Tree” video felt right as well.

While they were designing the art for “Redwood Tree,” The Made Shop had collage artist, Kristen Meyer, film herself in a time lapse placing real flowers, leaves, twigs and paper onto Kathryna’s photo. The concept of having my face come to life in a stop-motion style gives nod to one of my all-time favorite music videos, “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel. When I was little, I remember seeing it on MTV and having it impact me in such a wild way. The end of the video has the tone of an old Busby Berkeley musical too. It feels great for all of us to have collectively created such a wonderfully weird, out of the box music video. Seems about the only thing fitting for such a wonderfully weird, out of the box song.

— Jamie Drake

The music video for “Redwood Tree” was directly inspired by the process of creating the single artwork with Kristen Meyer. That piece features a striking black and white photo of Jamie altered physically by Kristen with this unexpected organic thatch of twigs growing out from her head and hair. A sort of earthy aura. Bright orange flowers bloom from this outgrowth. Seeing those bright blooms against the dark monochrome photo inspired the whole video concept: what if Jamie’s mouth came to life signing in bright, blooming color — just as if it were another flower. The song has these beautiful layers and layers of Jamie’s voice self-harmonizing, and so her lips begin multiplying — emanating out in organic blooms. Initially this technique is restrained, but ultimately builds to a riotous chorus of lips and eyes swelling to a climax, before breaking to reveal an alternate reality behind it all.

The process was technically quite simple. We started with a time lapse video of Kristen actually creating what would eventually become the single artwork. We sped this up many times to show the unfolding of the twigs and flowers. Then Jamie just shot herself using an iPhone, a couple lights, and green face paint that only revealed her eyes and mouth as she sang each layered vocal part in turn. From there it was a fairly direct process of extracting the lips and eyes, and compositing them onto the emerging time lapse twig structure.

— Marke Johnson, director

(Photo Credit: Kathryna Hancock)

One of Los Angeles’ best-kept musical secrets, indie folk songwriter Jamie Drake is emerging on the national scene with her stunning debut album, Everything’s Fine.

Within the last few years, Jamie Drake has collaborated with the likes of Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Mikael Jorgensen (Wilco), and Moby. She’s also toured with accomplished performers such as Sara & Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek, J.S. Ondara, Shawn Colvin and The Lone Bellow.

From her nomadic childhood with gypsy parents where she was constantly the new kid in town, to overcoming heartbreak and divorce and being the ultimate late bloomer, Everything’s Fine gives Jamie permission to take the spotlight at age 39 and be her weird and wild-eyed self on center stage.

Her first two singles released from the album, “Everything’s Fine” and “Wonder,” have received a combined five millions streams on Spotify. Everything’s Fine will be released on September 20, 2019 via AntiFragile Music on vinyl and all digital platforms.