Still via YouTube

kelsey lu turned her depression into a breathtaking music video

'Shades of Blue' is a haunting nine-minute hymn filled with spectacular fashion.

by Hannah Ongley
27 April 2018, 6:39pm

Still via YouTube

Kelsey Lu is a fiercely distinctive gem in an increasingly homogenous music world. The classically trained cellist is making orchestral string music for the Instagram generation — even recording her debut album, Church, in an actual church. Lu was raised in North Carolina as a Jehovah’s Witness and spent most of her time reading the Bible. Now, she has dropped a nine-minute music video that’s elegiac and utterly engrossing. Approximately 100 of the views on Lu’s new visual for “Shades of Blue” are me just watching it over and over again.

“It’s like the snow that gathers beside the road,” Lu says in a voice-over at the start of the video. “Over time, it turns, from its pristine whiteness that it attempts to block blackness below, to a sludge-fest, tire marks and wind, and on occasion, ice. Revealing that nothing can go untouched, and in time, all will be revealed.” The opening scene shows Lu shoveling mud in a long white prairie dress and cornrows, filling a rusty bucket before sinking into the sludge. Cut to Lu lounging on the stern of a boat in a full-blown fall/winter 18 Molly Goddard confection, wind sweeping through pleated tulle and curly hair. Lu is a longtime fan of the boldly feminine Brit designer: she recently rocked up to the recording studio in one of Goddard’s bright blue gowns, as you do.

My personal favorite outfit is the bonnet-esque puffer coat by Chen Peng. The Chinese designer has also caught the eye of Rihanna (as has Goddard) and Lady Gaga, but the oversized outerwear looks positively celestial, almost resembling a baptism, bathed in sunlight filtered through a forest canopy. Hair looks come courtesy of the incredibly talented Nena Soul Fly. “Cotton Crowns for Southern Queens and the Elevation of Ori,” Nena said of the orbital hair sculptures, referencing a Yoruba term for the divine self.

The final scene shows Lu in a beaded jumpsuit by fine artist Sienna Shields, her arched body levitating in a forest clearing. On Instagram, Lu wrote that the song formed part of a vital healing process. “‘Shades Of Blue’ was written during a time of deep depression, and later became realized as a conversation with it,” she said. “I hope it brings you glimpses of peace as it did for me.” Lu had previously revealed that the song, her first since 2016’s groundbreaking EP Church, was written while she was squatting in a leather factory in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Lu will be performing “Shades of Blue” and several new pieces at Moroccan Lounge on May 8, and Music Hall of Williamsburg on May 23. See you there!

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