Photo by Wesley Goodrich. 

sedona explores her sexual fantasies on the pop anthem 'more love'

Her new video is a lesson in femme empowerment, a kitschy depiction of romance, and an homage to 80s porn.

by Corinne Bates
24 October 2019, 4:00pm

Photo by Wesley Goodrich. 

Sedona makes what she likes to call “Dirty Pop.” It’s sexy, it’s fun, and it’s a little off-kilter, often conjuring up pop star idols of her youth like Madonna and Gwen Stefani. Despite growing up right outside of Los Angeles, the 23-year-old musician was raised without a television and received her pop culture education by way of the radio. Sedona cites her upbringing as a major inspiration for her approach to creating, which led her to The New School in New York in pursuit of her own musical career.

“Both of my parents are musicians and I grew up in a place where you don’t have a choice to be anything other than yourself. I try to share that idea through my music and my existence,” Sedona tells i-D. And it’s easy to believe her, given she’s wearing baby doll heads as earrings in the least menacing way possible.

The now Brooklyn-based artist wrote her newest single, “More Love,” alongside producers Guv+Price and the synth-driven party-pop anthem is all about the thrill of the chase. “Even if it takes all night boy/ I’m gonna make you mine no use in fighting,” she sings. Shot in LA, the single’s music video leans seductively into Sedona’s 80s influences with its vibrant coloring and styling throughout.

Photo by Gabriella Talassazan.

Though she’s proven herself to be quite the director with the music video for her single “Call Me Up,” she created this new video with the help of director Amalía Irons and production designer Wesley Goodrich. In it, she celebrates the freedom love can give people to explore different sides of themselves by dressing up as characters from popular sexual fantasies: the naughty nurse, the appropriately greasy mechanic, and of course, the sexy librarian. We met with Sedona over tea and empanadas in her Bushwick apartment to talk about “More Love,” femme empowerment, and even her own sexual fantasies.

What is the story behind the name Sedona?
Sedona is a place in Arizona that is said to have healing powers in the land, which is something I have always connected to—in terms of nature being a place of healing. It’s also my earliest memory, and the only memory I have from when my parents were still together. They divorced when I was really young. It’s a little bittersweet and I think music is a good outlet to express the complexity of that range of emotions. Sedona represents a force of nature that deals with healing, mourning, loss, and transitioning into something new.

What would you say is the core message of your newest track “More Love?”
It’s definitely an 80s pop banger, but underneath the production—in terms of the lyrics—it encompasses the different sides of the coin that love has to it. It’s about the thrill of the chase, but it’s also about the fact that love can be deep or it can be shallow. It can be very fast and it can be very slow. Each relationship is so different.

The song is about this concept of love that everyone seems to sing about and the majority of songs are written about. And I am trying to show both sides of the coin in a kitschy, almost poking fun at it kind of way. It has a self-voyeuristic aspect of like "I’m this cute girl who is going to seduce you tonight and I am going to hypnotize you into this world of music."

Photo by Wesley Goodrich.

All of your videos are comprised of either a majority or a completely femme cast and crew. What is the driving force behind that decision and how do you think it impacts the process and the final product?
I don’t know what it is, but I just feel like both the music and film industry are so male-dominated and so far every song I have released has been recorded with male producers. I wanted to make an effort to balance that out with the music videos. I feel like women aren’t always taken as seriously in this space. I just know that I have so many insanely creative femme friends and I wanted to bring them together to make art. The sets have been a very nurturing environment and everything has been very collaborative and supportive.

It’s also just a personal preference. I have an all-girl band and I enjoy the way we work together. It feels like a more natural way of self-expression for Sedona as a band. I’m lucky to be surrounded by amazing creatives no matter how they identify. I just really enjoy working with people who are in touch with their femininity.

Photo by Wesley Goodrich.

Who all is in your all-girl band and what made you decide to move in that direction?
Margaux Bouchegnies plays bass, Tia Cestaro on drums, Merilyn Chang plays keys, and Claire Gilb is on guitar. We wrote half of the songs on the EP that we are putting out in 2020 together and it’s so different from just working one-on-one with a producer. They’re also my best friends. I hang out with them all the time. I’m an only child and I feel like ever since I came out of the womb I’ve been like, “Where is everyone?” I’ve always been drawn to being around other people. Plus, who wouldn’t want to play shows and tour with their best friends? The soul of Sedona is ever-expanding and in such a sweet way. I have so many friends who have helped bring Sedona to life—especially the band.

So let’s talk about the “More Love” music video. What was your inspiration and what was the process of filming like for this video?
It’s hard to be a woman. There are a lot of expectations of what we are supposed to look like and how we are supposed to act. There is this pressure to be a super thin, botox-infused, sex doll cyber-influencer. That was so extreme, but I’m bringing it to the extremes! Some days I want to wear a pretty dress and other days I want to wear my dad’s oversized Levi’s jeans. I wanted to explore that in a way that made fun of sexual fantasy roles. I even played off of my own sexual fantasies of having sex in a library—where you’re supposed to be quiet—or having sex in a dirty mechanic’s garage, the doctor’s office, or a heart-shaped tub. We drew a lot of inspiration from 80s porn, which is funny since I grew up in Chatsworth, California a.k.a. the porn capital of the world.

My good friend from back home Amalía Irons directed it. Then Wesley Goodrich spearheaded everything else. She did the art and production design. We wanted to play off of the idea of sexual fantasies and escaping your identity because I think that’s what love does. If you’re in a good thing, whether it’s a fling or a long-term relationship, you’re allowed to be different characters and explore different sides of yourself. I wanted to portray that idea in the video.

Photo by Wesley Goodrich.

What’s next for Sedona?
Well, I have an EP coming out in 2020 and it’s a little bit of a deeper take on who I am as an artist. It’s a darker tone of my self-expression both in the lyrical matter and in the production. It’s moodier. I’m still figuring out my sound, and each song I have made so far has been with a different producer, so I’m excited to share songs that I have written with the band because I think we write our best songs together. I even worked with Barrie on one of the songs for the EP.

I learned a lot from collaborating with friends and lovers on this project. I just feel so grateful to be a part of a community that is really the heart and soul of Sedona. It is a force of nature. I’m Sedona. You’re Sedona. We are all Sedona. It’s bigger than just me. I might be the physical embodiment of it, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t extend across the world to people who listen in Brazil or my friends in California who worked so hard on the video.

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