premiere: watch nina sky’s beautifully queer ‘champion lover’ video
One of the hottest songs of the summer arrives with a fresh new visual that celebrates the diversity of modern love.
As the summer Olympics heat up, all eyes are on Rio. But some of today's most megawatt musicians were looking south long before the opening ceremony — infusing Rio's vibrant baille funk sounds and Jamaican dancehall-inspired riddims into the bubbling pop productions that form our summer soundtrack. Think of Diplo's recent Bieber bangers, or the Caribbean cadences of Rihanna and Drake's ear candy. That infectious island influence made Nina Sky's 2004 sensation "Move Ya Body" pure gold (literally, it's RIAA certified). It's also what makes the duo's winning new single "Champion Lover" so impossible to turn off.
Today, i-D is proud to premiere the music video for "Champion Lover" — a truly diverse depiction of summer lovin' that earns perfect 10s for its playful vibes and celebration of queer perspectives. All too often, music videos perpetuate one-dimensional portraits of sexuality: a macho dude and scantily-clad starlet. That's cool, but it's not the only kind of relationship that should be represented in lyrics or visuals. "Champion Lover" brings together queer and straight, friends and family (that's Natalie's little one in the tiny Supreme tee) to bask in Nina Sky's banging island beat. We caught up with R&B's favorite twins to learn more.
Tell us about the track. What sort of energy did you want to convey with this one?
Nicole: "Champion Lover" started as a playful hook I wrote for my wife. Natalie wrote the verses. When we were recording songs for our upcoming project, we didn't go into the studio with any specific formula. We were just like, "Ok, a song can be meaningful and fun the same time, so let's not take ourselves too serious and bang out jams!" That's how this track came together.
How do you feel the video interprets the song's vibe?
Natalie: The video was directed by Ariel Fisher and Austin Kearns. We all had one goal: to create a beautiful video that conveyed love and all of its diversity.
Let's talk about the casting process. Who were you looking to represent?
Natalie: Ariel and Austin cast the video. We wanted to represent a diverse spectrum of people: queer, straight, friends, family — all different types of love.
When pop trio Years & Years released its video for "Desire" earlier this year, frontman Olly Alexander released a statement about how many music videos have pretty shallow, one-dimensional depictions of sexuality. Why do you guys think it's important to broaden that focus?
Nicole: He's right! The world isn't one-dimensional. So why should the videos we release only reflect a certain expression of sexuality? The different people and relationships you see in our video are relatable. That's important to us; we want everyone who sees "Champion Lover" to feel like they are represented in the message of love we're trying to convey.
Natalie: Most videos ARE one-dimensional depictions of love and sexuality and that's not real life. That's not our life. It's important to broaden that focus because all love should be celebrated. We want everyone to watch this video and feel like they can relate.
"Champion Lover" is released via Tommy Boy Entertainment and available here.
Text Emily Manning
Photography Elvin Tavarez