Written by Ashley Friedman

Singer-songwriter Casely premieres his official video for “Annabella” today on Elicit Magazine. The song is just one of eight featured on Casely’s latest record, The Mutt – A Palindromic Album.

“Annabella” is like a dive into the past and you’re trying to come up for fresh air, but you can’t help but meddle in the pain of love underwater for just a second. The beginning of the song carries a piano melody that almost reminds me of the start of Rihanna’s “Unfaithful.”; somehow full of sorrow and a touch of regret, setting the precedent for the story behind “Annabella.” The melody is then followed by an upbeat Caribbean inspired rhythm.

“I wanted to use my Trinidadian and Caribbean influence to just experiment and see what came out. I’m a very visual person and the repeating cowbell you hear on the record gave me a kind of hypnosis that transported me to a club and before I knew it I was dancing in my chair. The last aspect of the production was adding the nostalgic type of string arrangements you hear sprinkled in. I’ve gotten into orchestral scoring over the past couple of years and was searching for a place on this album to collaborate with Bill Meyers, a friend of mine who’s composed for film, the Olympics, and artists from Earth, Wind, and Fire to Madonna and Ariana Grande. He helped to bring out a nostalgic touch that I wanted to add with his string arrangement.”

Casely

Cut to the video, we see a tipsy Casely wandering around a pool. Soon after, he’s stumbling out of a club, the name “Annabella” slipping out of his mouth as he tries to get a grasp of what has happened. Vivid memories of something that once was vs. the reality of today are getting muddled in his mind, the character “Annabella” weaves in and out his memory.

“It was a happy accident that the intro for my song “Kerosene” on the album worked with the storyline of this video. I really love the cinematic capture of me stumbling around and mumbling. It kind of sets the tone for the rawness that we wanted to communicate.”

Casely

The Director of the video, Maria Juliah, and Director of Photography, Vini Lafayett, do an amazing job making this come to life with the “flashes from the past” tastefully weaved in and out of the video. Not to mention, the lighting throughout the piece is on point and carefully chosen giving it a “club element, but also a dreamy ethereal vibe,” as Casely puts it. The entire video was shot in one night in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, edited by Casely himself in just a few days, and even features real footage in the introduction that had been shot three years prior.

Near the middle of the video, we see Casely and Annabella leaving a club and hopping into a car. Within seconds, the same scene is repeated, except this time Casely is by himself. You ever relive the past just to try and see where things went wrong and what you could have done differently to change the outcome? That’s the struggle Casely is currently dealing with and it comes alive in this video.

“Its inspiration is true life. My ex was never really shy about the actions she took post-relationship and would DM me clips of her out on the town, etc. As an artist, I aim to really paint a picture of what goes on in my head and the experiences I’ve gone through. In this case, I wrote from some specific moments like Instagram, for instance, as well as me taking too lightly the notion of her moving on. The name “Annabella” is an ode to reggae legend Ken Booth and the Smooth Criminal king – MJ.”

Casely

There’s a scene in the music video where Casely is staring into the camera. You can tell that he’s struggling to come to terms with “Annabella” and her decision to leave. Moments later, he freefalls backward into the pool, with the last of his rum drink and a lost look on his face.

When talking about the inspiration behind the song, Casely mentions how a couple of drinks played a role in how it initially came about.

“…In June 2019 when I was working in LA for a month or two. I had been living at the Luxe off Sunset and didn’t really have the opportunity to go out and socialize much so one night I had a couple hard Kombucha’s and made my own solo party in my hotel room. A few months later, when I was back in Florida, I wanted to write to the music but didn’t really know what I wanted it to be about. So, I ended up working on it at the end of a night out. I put on the instrumental I made in LA and the song kind of spilled out of me.”

Casely

Although the scene of Casely with brush and greenery around him is scattered throughout the video, it’s especially present towards the end. At one point, Casely is looking through the greenery, almost lost in the woods, searching for Annabella and once again, searching for something that once was. Quickly, we see Annabella confidently walking on her own path, barely acknowledging Casely’s presence as he lets out a cry for her to wait, to stop, to do something other than to think about herself.

“I had a brainstorming session with the director, Maria Juliah, and shared some imagery that kept coming up for me which was centered around greenery and a suit. She was able to weave that through her concept of Annabella appearing and disappearing as the night evolves in my drunken stupor.”

Casely

The lyrics “Anna, Anna, Annabella baby please come back to me,” sung by Casely steadily fade out and we’re brought into the credits. If there is one thing Casely wants you to take away from this song + video, it’s:

“…I am an artist unwilling to tuck away the heart on my sleeve. That goes for life, love, and most certainly my art.”

Casely

Watch the official video for “Annabella” below and be sure to check out our recent interview with Casely about how he got his start in music, biggest inspirations, and more.

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