Judah Blak just released the video for Favorite Love Song, a track from his Chapter One EP, released earlier this year. We chatted by phone about making the video during the pandemic, being okay with rejection, and taking up running to cope with the quarantine.
How did the video come about?
I did a hook for a friend of mine, and he liked my music, so we worked together. We had another idea for a video we wanted to do [for the Chapter One track Bad Women), but COVID happened. so we looked at what else we could do together in the meantime.
Was it difficult to pivot to a new idea that could actually be done during the pandemic?
You have to get your grandiose idea out then peel it back to fit expectations. The winery we filmed at belongs to a friend of mine. [I asked] “Hey bud, can I shoot?” He gave us parameters because of COVID and we made it work. We also used lots of rooftop scenes because they’re cheaper to do in videos and you can shoot there until you get kicked out.
[You look at a lot of videos to] pull from creatives who are doing what you want to do, then you figure out how and where to do it. Then it’s a lot of blind phone calls and being ok with no.
Being okay with rejection is hard for a lot of people. You have to be able to pivot or modify an idea to keep moving forward. It seems like the most successful people are able to take being told no and turn it into something positive.
I’ve always taken the notion of if you really want it, you’re gonna figure it out. It’s about continuing to grow. What one person hates about you, someone else will love. [With regards to your craft] you also know that you’re not great now, but you’ll keep growing and get better.
How are you dealing with the pandemic and the general crappiness of 2020?
One coping mechanism I’ve found is running. I never liked to run, but the mental euphoria you get from that is insane. I did the Run for Ahmaud and it helped. Teen dramas are helping! I watch them all on the CW and Netflix: The Originals, Vampire Diaries, whatever.
What does the rest of 2020 look like for you professionally?
I was supposed to open for Chico debarge in April, but it’s off. I’m putting together live stream sets, and working with Breanna Presad on my third project. We’re halfway there. It’s just about popping out content and finding creative ways to do it.
One of the bright spots I’ve seen during the pandemic is the way artists are connecting with their audience by streaming stripped-down live sets and putting out broadcasts from their home studios. I hope that when we get back to a semblance of normalcy, some of this continues.
I started playing live in the church where those who can actually sing with next to nothing or who can do it without smoke on stage and all that, they’ll come to the forefront. We live in a day and age where you can take your own photos and become a model. As a musician, there’s so much more to it than putting a song on Soundcloud. It’s about musicianship.
[I think we’ll see] more people who can really perform, like Kehlani, or Daniel Caesar in the spotlight. The level of musicianship will show because you can’t hide that on a live stream. People can see it and that’s what I’m excited about.
Once I became comfortable with my weight, I knew my content had to be good, because there are plenty of thin people who fucking suck. I’m sexy no matter what.
Do you feel like it’s more difficult to be a bigger person breaking into the music business?
Becoming a solo artist is when I became comfortable with my body. I’ve always been strong and athletic, so performing is easy. I know where my body needs to be to perform. I think I’m wanted in music and entertainment. The world loves big guys with beards! You’re not gonna tell me someone like Heavy D wasn’t crackin’, or Reuben Studdard, or even Uncle Phil. Once I became comfortable with my weight, I knew my content had to be good, because there are plenty of thin people who fucking suck. I’m sexy no matter what.
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