When singer-songwriter Sidibe wanted a new music video to bring to life the lyrics of her latest single, Place For You & I, she turned to Los Angeles-based director and artist, Jamal Ademola, for help. Inspired by the song, Jamal came up with a theme that saw her fall in love with a man trapped inside a painting.
"The lyrics of the song are essentially about being in a relationship and yet feeling powerfully connected to another person and the conflict that creates," Jamal tells Creative Boom. "I'm a keen observer of romantic love. The idea came from observations of my friends' relationships which happen to coincide with Sidibe's lyrics and from some of my own personal past experiences.
"The painting represents a kind of relationship idealisation. Things being picture-perfect. The song is essentially about connecting with your true soul mate and uses flowers as metaphors for a growing or a dying love. I love all things magical and fantastical and was really interested in trying to visually represent the lofty ideals of love in the video."
Jamal worked with cinematographer Dominic Jones and producers Nai Vasha and Kris Simms to realise his idea, along with a whole team of experts to shoot live-action video which would later merge with animation. Illustrator Cam Floyd, meanwhile, created the beautiful illustrations that articulated the "animated world" Jamal was "trying to create".
"I often make commercials and I was in a space where I wanted to create something that wasn't selling a brand and had a bit more creative freedom. We sat down and discussed these concepts together with my cinematographer Dominic Jones. Then we all shared our broken heart stories and from that project grew," Jamal adds.
Were there any challenges along the way, aside from a limited budget and the events of 2020? "Mentally it was hard to focus on making art when everyone was so emotionally drained from dealing with unprecedented and uncertain circumstances," he says. "We simply overcame these challenges with time. Things just took longer than they normally would take."