In her new single ‘Whistle Blow’, NYC-based alt-pop artist Rachael Sage stands up and speaks out for the victims of sexual harassment and abuse, paying tribute to the voices that give them the strength to share their stories.
"When I wrote 'Whistle Blow' I initially had one very specific celebrity in mind, who had recently fallen from grace via some pretty shocking public accusations,” Rachael Sage tells us about her new single.
It’s a timely torch song for the survivors of sexual violence and a righteous fist in the air for a future where no one is discriminated against. Much like the Me Too and Times Up movements themselves, the song is about establishing a a sense of common ground and empowering sexually assaulted women through empathy, solidarity and strength in numbers.
“In the past I've tended to write more personally, pulling from my own specific experience or perhaps those of people who I've encountered in my travels, who've confided their stories to me,” she explains about how ‘Whistle Blow’ was something of a departure for her.
“For this song, I decided to write from the imagined perspective of someone summoning the courage to speak out, stand up and make it crystal clear that they have been mistreated by someone in a greater position of power. On the flip side, I wanted to also channel the courage and focus - a kind of imperviousness - that it takes to worry less about what people will think, than about sharing your own truth.”
“The line 'I can hear your voice singing don't look back - you have a choice' is describing all of the individuals someone may have met and been influenced by; upon whom they are drawing for strength. Sometimes the voices that most encourage us are authors, filmmakers or maybe even our own ancestors. All of that confidence-gathering can contribute to a pivotal moment of truth, when someone is finally able to speak for themselves fully and clearly, with transformative determination.”
The beguiling one-shot video was directed and produced by Jenny He and features Rachael Sage and Kyle Livsey. It is premiering exclusively on Holler below.
"Making this video was really exciting because it was my first time working with a female director, which I felt was important given the subject matter of the song,” Sage explained to us. “Jenny He is extremely gifted on top of being very ambitious, and I had discovered her work through some clips she'd done for my friend Sawyer Fredericks. I was blown away by her sensitivity to his material and the organic, honest quality of her work. We wanted the video to express the mounting drain of 'carrying' someone else, all their baggage and lack of boundaries - and to project the weight of what it feels like to be trapped within any kind of relationship, through movement.”
As a visual artist and a former ballet dancer who performed with the New York City Ballet, Sage brings elements of those disciplines into the video for ‘Whistle Blow’, working with the dancer and choreographer Kyle Livsey.
“He had incredible instincts and in one brief rehearsal he created choreography to accompany my performance that could be captured in one long shot,” Sage says. “I've never done a one-shot video before and it was challenging - no edits! - but ultimately, I think it really serves the song and allows the viewer to experience the various power dynamics that 'Whistle Blow' spotlights, in an abstract, poetic way.”
Filmed at The Art Factory in New Jersey, the director used the natural light of the windows, which inevitably varied throughout the day, until the early evening light set the stage perfectly for the mood of the song.
After founding her own label MPress Records over two decades ago, Rachael Sagehas released a diverse catalogue of artful and challenging albums and EPs and toured with an eclectic list of artists including Ani DiFranco, Beth Hart, Howard Jones, Shawn Colvin and Judy Collins - with whom she also recorded a critically-acclaimed duet of Neil Young's ‘Helpless’. She’s also performed at the Edinburgh Fringe, SXSW, and toured globally from Japan to Berlin with her band, The Sequins.
The Other Side is due out in July 2023 on MPress Records. Rachael Sage & The Sequins will be on tour throughout the US, UK and Europe throughout the year. Click here for details.