Equal - I want to delve into how the song came alive!
Where do I even start?
Throughout my life I’ve been fortunate enough to have grown up in a loving home and a society that hasn’t treated me differently or less because of my skin colour, my background, my history or any part of me.
Being active on social media as an artist, for the most part is fantastic. I get to share my art, connect with others and spread love and good vibes.
I typically avoid any negativity I see online. I like to try and keep my head space in a good place as much as possible. Media is a fantastic tool, but it can be damaging too. I wish more people realised this and guarded against letting their self image and worth suffer because of it.
All that being said, the media has been a little different recently.
I’ve been watching, I’ve been listening, I’ve been learning.
People are using their voices.
Protesting, shouting, screaming. Demanding a better world.
I hear you, I stand, with you
Sometimes there are things that need paying attention to. Sometimes, if you turn a blind eye, you are contributing to the problem, by not fighting for the solution. George Floyd and everything
that the Black Lives Matter movement entails is something that should be paid attention to. Privilege isn’t about what you’ve experienced, it’s about what you haven’t experienced.
I’ve watched many a movie where I’ve seen how black people were treated not so long ago, having to sit in the ‘black section’ on a bus, having to use the ‘coloured toilets’. I don’t know even half of the struggle, I know that I can’t even imagine it. I know that racism is still happening, injustice is still happening. Inequality, is still, happening.
Everything I’ve been seeing on social media these past few weeks have moved me a lot. So much so that I wanted to express how I feel about it.
About inequality in every form.
That is how “Equal” was born.
As soon as I’d written the song, which took me around fifteen minutes, it was very much like the song chose to come to me and I’m just the delivery boy for the message. It came spilling out of my mind so easily, it came almost exactly how you hear it, I wrote it down in exactly that order and I barely changed a word of it between then and the finished product.
My brother Beau was listening to what I was doing when he sang back to me “the rights that they stole” where I had been singing “The right to live, to be free” and I just had to have that line right at the end. One line can make a big difference to a song and it’s personally my favourite line in the whole song! And that’s why Beau is on the song writer’s credits! My brother is also a songwriter! Who knew! Getting to sing that line with my fist in the air in the pouring rain
definitely felt right to me!
Now, I want to delve into the music video and how it was brought to life!
I knew before anything that it was going to be in black and white. I love colourful things, not sure if my music video for “Reminiscing” will be up by the time you read this but you’ll see that
I love bright and vibrant to the max! This one was different though, I wanted to make sure that the only focus in the video was the song, the words and the message. Black and white always felt right because I wanted something simple.
I came up with the idea to do it all in one shot, because music videos are often very perfected, they are exactly how you want them to be, you plan everything almost to the second. In a way, it’s dishonest. It’s a creation of a visual that never would exist outside of the video. I wanted it to be real, raw and honest, just like the song. Around the same time while I was thinking of all this, the Isle Of Man held its silent protest for BLM, later that day my news feed was flooded with all of these amazing signs and then I got the idea to incorporate that into my video. As my own personal protest and message.
There was a lot to choose from, but I’d been listening to Macklemore’s song “Same Love” a lot, it’s always been one of those songs to choke me up. It had me thinking about the fight not so long ago for gay rights.
I hope that anyone who feels different or has been bullied for being who they are knows that my song is for you. It is all inclusive. I felt like quoting his words would be the perfect end to the song, it sums it all up for me.
The day the video was filmed, my good friend Becky helped me to create and paint the signs. Then we headed to a place called Marine Drive along with her boyfriend Blake. I wanted somewhere open with no distractions, although a lone dog walker did make it into the video!
I knew the weather was to be a bit drizzly, I remember thinking it would add to the effect of the final shot. Little did I know, a little drizzle very quickly turned into torrential rain! The signs were going to get drenched long before I held them up if we had carried them the whole way so we came up with a cunning plan.
I played the song in my headphones and walked at the pace I wanted to in the opposite direction so we knew exactly where to start. We then walked back filming.
Props to Becky, she had to do a lot of walking backwards in the pouring rain as well as trying to keep the camera in focus, talk about skills! While we did this, Blake was waiting on standby in the car with the signs.
As soon as he saw me and Becky come around the corner he got out and ran over with the signs, passed them over the top of Becky’s head to me, and that’s how it was done! Get this too, we did a take prior to the final one, it went so well right up until the end, where a giant gust of wind came and blew the sign from my hands and we had to do the whole thing again. That’s why even from the start of the video, I’m already drenched in rain – we’d already walked there and back twice!
Luckily we got it in the second take and all headed home and spent a considerable amount of time with the hairdryer!
I’m really happy with how the final video and song turned out. Neither are perfect, but both are honest and real!
I believe this song will always be a stand out moment for me. I almost always lean towards the subject matter of personal experiences, stories, love, losing love. To write about a global issue, to
support equal rights and pour my heart into such an important message, well it felt like a privilege, really.
I hope you give it a watch and enjoy it!
Written by Mae Challis & Beau Challis Performed by Mae Challis
Looking forward to getting the music video for Reminiscing out!
Thank you for reading and supporting me
Love Mae xxx