10 Celebrity Musicians Who Directed Their Own Music Videos
Musicians showcase their skills in unique and diverse ways. Sometimes they play multiple instruments, creating their own one-man-band during the recording process. Other times they venture into other careers such as acting, modeling, or producing similarly styled music. Some musicians, however, are true artists that retain a unique vision that comes across in whatever mediums they are willing to explore. Some choose to make clothing that becomes synonymous with their style of music. Others decide they want to create art that corresponds to their records. But some wish to make cinematic adaptations of their music, designing multiple ways for the public to engage with their work.
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Many musicians have come up with interesting concepts for their music videos. This has included Michael Jackson who took MTV by storm with the release of his zombie-themed video for the hit single “Thriller”. It also includes David Bowie who co-directed the iconic video for the song “Ashes to Ashes” in 1980. But several other recent artists and musicians have taken the camera into their hands and directed the music videos for their own hit singles. Learning a new artform in the process of carrying through their vision has resulted in several artists turned directors who have found multiple ways to spread their art throughout the world.
10 Billie Eilish, “everything i wanted”
Billie Eilish released her first single “Six Feet Under” in 2016 as a collaboration with her brother and producer FINNEAS. Establishing herself early on with a darker aesthetic, it wasn’t until 2019 when she released her debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? that landed her critical acclaim and a Grammy win for record of the year. That year, she also opted to direct her own music video for her single “everything i wanted” which further cemented her career as a thematically darker superstar.
9 Halsey, “Now Or Never”
Halsey’s creative direction as an artist is unparallelled. In addition to directing her own music video for the song “Now Or Never” she also released a unique NFT that paired Halloween-themed artwork with her original music.
8 Miley Cyrus, “Midnight Sky”
In addition to founding one of the most powerful nonprofit organizations, the Happy Hippie Foundation, Miley Cyrus is also known for making crucial leaps throughout her career in order to retain relevance. Having succeeded as a childhood icon for her role on the Disney series Hannah Montana, she then ventured into the pop mainstream with singles like “Party in the USA”. Growing tired of her pop roots, she transitioned into alternative music which resulted in several collaborations with the rock band The Flaming Lips. At the peak of discovering herself, she directed the flashy music video “Midnight Sky” which showcased her diva-esque style through close up glamour shots and vibrant color schemes.
7 Poppy, “All The Things She Said”
Poppy is the brainchild of Moriah Pereira. Beginning her career in Nashville, Tennessee, she traded the country for the star-studded Hollywood aesthetic as she moved into the entertainment capital of the world. In addition to expanding her style of music, she also expanded her passion for art and chose to direct the music video for the single “All The Things She Said.”
6 Jared Leto, Thirty Seconds to Mars, “The Kill”
In addition to being one of the most iconic actors in Hollywood, Jared Leto is one of the few stars also known for his singing talents. Having appeared in feature films like Dallas Buyers Club and Requiem For a Dream, it only makes sense that his directorial efforts for “The Kill” feature a variety of nods to directos and cinema. Inspired by the works of Kubrick, most particularly The Shining, his work as a director has more in common with short films than it does traditional music video.
5 Demi Lovato, “Made in the USA”
Demi Lovato has overcome several obstacles throughout her career. She has been open about her addictions and even explored her past trauma when she appeared as a guest on the Joe Rogan Experience. She is ranked as a blue-belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and describes her sexuality as fluid. The diverse star with an interesting public life has also showcased her skills as a director in the video for her hit single “Made in the USA”.
4 Lady Gaga, “Marry the Night”
Lady Gaga expresses herself in a variety of dramatic ways. This has included obscure outfits that challenge the conventional notions of fashion and has led to performances as an actress in several different mediums including the feature film A Star is Born and the television series American Horror Story. But in addition to being a star in front of the camera, she has also proven herself a master behind the lens. She directed her music video for “Marry the Night” which is an explosive almost 14-minute performance that showcases her diverse styles and interests.
3 Kanye West, “Runaway”
Kanye West does not stop making art and pursuing his visions. In addition to founding his own clothing company, starting his own church, developing his own school with a matching education plan and announcing his candidacy for President, he is also a filmmaker. Kanye West directed the performance and video for his popular single “Runaway” which features beautiful moments of ballet that synchronize stylistically with his music.
2 Dr. Dre, Eminem “Forgot About Dre”
Dr. Dre has carried the weight of several artists and rappers throughout his career as a producer. But beyond cementing the careers of future stars, Dre has also left a lasting legacy as a solo artist as well. In addition to supporting the career of then rising rapper Eminem, he also directed the “Forgot About Dre” music video during the height of the era. Featuring Brechtian elements of epic theatre like faux commercials and news segments, his work as a director parallels the greats like Michael Bay and Spike Lee.
1 Tom Delonge, Angels & Airwaves “Euphoria”
Tom Delonge has done it all; written novels, produced music, established several brands, and founded one of the leading companies dedicated to shedding light on the UFO phenomenon. Through his work with Angels & Airwaves, Delonge has been able to delve into his occult interests by featuring symbolism and storylines in some of their music videos. “Euphoria” is no different, as Delonge explores consciousness, relationships and the potential of the universe in his cinematic masterpiece.
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Sources:MusiciansTerritory, AltPress, Newsbreak, Zimbio, DigitalSpy, Letterboxd, MSN, RoadieMusic, CRFashionBook, IHeartRadio, Vice, Paste, SoundBetter, Billboard, People, Yahoo, Forbes, Newsweek, MSN, ABC
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