Laredo’s Music Video for “Year of the Dragon” is an Ode to the King

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I love Elvis Presley. Not in a casual way. No. I feel the kind of love for him that causes tears at the sight of most footage of the man who died long before I was born. I feel an absolute connection to him that no doubtful words from another can shake. They just don’t understand. 

I also want to be Elvis Presley. That’s right. There is a part of me that yearns to know what it would be like to be the King of Rock n Roll, to bring forth a force of nature with the shake of a hip, and to cause others to faint at the mere sight of me. 

It is both of these feelings that birthed the music video for my second single, “Year of the Dragon.” A bit of a rocker with somber subject matter, I felt it needed somber, but sexy visuals: exciting, but a little fraught with pain. What better way to portray that than through the eyes of a man who embodied these exact feelings, especially toward the end of his blinding light of a life. Which brings us to location: The Jungle Room. Elvis’s final recordings took place in The Jungle Room at Graceland, a place I’ve never been but often dreamed of. Drenched in 70s green shag and warm gold light, the place feels tinged with tragedy and lore. The studio we shot in, kitschy as Graceland, felt like the perfect place to bring about the spirit of The King. Shot in 16mm by Justin Moore, the video is an homage to the man I love and want to be. 

As a female musician and proud feminist, it gives me pause to think about why it feels so good to embody a male icon. Dressed in that black wig and white cape, I felt truly unstoppable. I believe that part of me felt passionate about making something worthy of my hero. The other part felt that in my Elvis drag, I was attractive and powerful in a way I never had been before. Red lipstick was important to me, because in feminine energy also lies great power, but those gold aviators were like a tool to harness a type of sexuality and confidence I had never known. Was it the presentation of male energy that emboldened me? Or was it the combination of it all?

I suppose this all speaks to the great spectrum that is gender and sexuality. Perhaps it is okay that while discovering rock n roll as a young girl, most of my musical icons were men, later finding that for every Bowie and Elvis there was a Debbie and a Stevie. I love Elvis, yes, and perhaps I see in him so many of the things that I wish to be. I wish to know my power and my presence like he did his. Maybe there is a little bit of who we want to be in everyone that we love: male, female, or nonbinary. Perhaps when I put on the gold aviators and red platforms, it all made a little more sense to me. What I know for sure is that sometimes, the magic lies in the exploration rather than in the answers. 

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story + artist+director  / Scarlet Moreno
cinematographer  / Justin Moore
wardrobe consultant  / Chaine Leyendecker
editor  / Melissa Burns
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