With the help of friends and family around the world, the LA-based Filipino singer-songwriter was able to create a music video for her latest single, “FWU”
For Los Angeles-based Filipino musician Tiana Kocher, the process of creating music is not purely linear. It is more like a ball of energy, full of momentum, that can come at her all at once. When working on the music and lyrics, she could have in mind colorful visuals that inform the process. They often find their way to her dynamic music videos.
Her latest song, “FWU,” is a fun and edgy RnB single that is perfect for our lost summer. Released earlier this month, it instantly made Spotify’s official New Music Friday playlists in the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. Of course, even before the song was streaming, Tiana had ideas for a vibrant video visual.
“I had planned to do a very retro style music video with my girlfriends at the Stahl House in Los Angeles,” Tiana shares with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “I’ve always had a knack for vintage clothing and retro-futurism architecture and interior design.”
The health crisis turned her schedule upside down. The music video remains only in her dreams, for now. But in these stressful times, many people are looking to art and to music.
“What I love about art is that it’s universal. It brings the world together. Music calms me. Music is what I turn to anytime, any day, anywhere,” says Tiana. Inspired by the connective power of music, she decided to embrace the unusual predicament and create another type of video that transcended boundaries and travel restrictions.
Made in quarantine
“I came up with a way for all my girlfriends around the world to be able to be in it just by having them film themselves on Snapchat,” says Tiana. “It was definitely hard for me because I don’t know how to put on makeup or how to do my own hair, I don’t own any make-up! So I’m very thankful for Snapchat filters saving the day.”
The music video features Tiana’s friends and family from all over the world expressing themselves to the beat of “FWU.” These are her friends from her time studying in the UK, her dancers based in Los Angeles, and all the people she has met through different conventions around Asia. Overall, the music video features over 40 women from 10 different countries.
“I’m so honored to be surrounded by such a diverse and strong group of women,” Tiana says, adding that even her own mom makes a brief cameo.
While usually pre-production, scouting, choreographing, practicing, and more would take weeks, each performer was in complete control of their own segment. More than just a music video filmed in quarantine, it came together as a celebration of the women who have helped Tiana become the performer she is today.
From Moscow to Manila
“It was an empowering experience. When you’re given the creative control over your video and you get the chance to reshoot without judgment, the possibilities are endless,” says mental health and domestic abuse advocate Kris Ponce-Enrile. Delighted to be part of the unique process, she adds, “It was nice to see that despite what’s going on in the world, we were all able to come together to make this music video.”
KJ Perkins is a professional dancer based in England. Along with her sister, she put together their own choreography for the video and filmed it in the middle of their living room.
“I was excited to support my friend’s music career even more,” says KJ. “She gave us so much freedom with our video and said we could do absolutely anything, that creative liberty was challenging but entertaining to watch as our performance came together.”
At the other end of Europe, Anatasia Sheveleva filmed her own segment in Moscow. She then sent it over to Tiana, in Manila, who compiled with other videos from all around the world.
“Tiana gave us absolute creative freedom, which allowed me to just do what I love without feeling any sort of pressure,” adds Anastasia. “It’s incredible how she united so many girls from different countries in this video, which also makes this work special.”
Thank you for the music
Back in Manila, Tiana stays busy as she continues to write music, take dance classes, and even sit in regular Zoom lectures for an online music business course. Her unique video is very much a testament to the perseverance she applies in her own career, creatively adapting to whatever obstacles thrown her way. It is the positive feedback loop that adds so much life and energy into her work.
While there is many hindrances artists like Tiana are facing during this health crisis, now more than ever society sees the importance of art and music in our lives.
“I think it’s really important to release music now,” muses Tiana, “because you never know how your creation can positively impact someone during these tough times.”
“FWU” was written in collaboration with Alex Jacke, Merges, and Rikki Randall. Produced by Laney Stewart, the record was released under the label Manila Music. “FWU” is now streaming on Spotify.