Go Behind The Scenes With Ama Lou

As she shoots the video for new single 'Same Old Ways'...

Ama Lou has always had a playful side to her music.

An artist who brims with energy, her songwriting engages with soulful appeal, while still adding something fun, and dynamic.

Her debut album 'I Came Home Late' is out later in 2022, and it finds Ama Lou grappling with her broadest sonic palette to date.

Ahead of this, Ama Lou is focussed on her new EP 'AT LEAST WE HAVE THIS' and its brand new single 'Same Old Ways'.

A refreshing look back, the single allows the North Londoner to reintroduce herself and it comes equipped with a stellar new video.

Directed by Ama alongside sister and long-term collaborator Mahalia John, it's shot in a private school environment and features a gently subversive edge.

Clash has nabbed some behind the scenes photography, alongside a quick Q&A with Ama Lou about the single, and her video.

Tune in now.

What was the inspiration/reference behind the visuals for 'Same Old Ways'?

I wanted to go at the idea of belonging, and how WE move the same and belong anywhere and everywhere, that we may want to.  

It’s a concept I wanted to tackle because of its relevance to how I grew up. I considered my life to have different (some would consider “contrasted”) English cultural elements and that all together always felt normal.  I hadn’t seen that represented it such a specific way to how I had experienced it so I just wanted, in a fun way, to bridge the gap  but at the same time the intention being to make everyone feel good who is watching.

You work creatively a lot with your sister Mahalia, what's that dynamic like, and how does it foster a great creative space – because the videos you've collaborated on so far have been incredible.

I mean it's my sister, my only sibling the person I love most in the world! What do you think it’s like ? Haha no but really its great… I feel so grateful to have her AND that we get to work together.

The best thing about working with your sibling is there is no communication barriers between us. I know her so well, that most of the time she doesn’t even have to say any thing. I can tell by her face if that was a good take or not haha  and in terms of our dynamic when I’m in front of the camera especially in this video, I have to step into Ama Lou or what every character Im playing and so momentarily cannot (actively) direct so I hand her the reigns!  

We do such intensive planning and figure out, so much detail in pre production we both know what It’s supposed to be like nothing is really left to chance. But also  instinctively she just  knows what I want so this way I can let go  and fully focus on the performance. Then when I step off camera I can step back in and we move on…. it's like a beautiful dance that only comes with knowing someone so well your whole life. I perform differently when she is behind the camera, I seek her out and somehow have no inhibitions. The whole process also becomes simpler because she is the only persons opinion I really trust and care about because we created the full thing together. 

How does an idea, concept or visual come together for you? What does your (and your teams) planning process look like?

It can really hit me at any time, I often start thinking of video in the very early stages of the song but sometimes they do come after I know exactly what the song sounds like. I will catch a scene in my head through a daydream and then it will snow ball and I’ll just be writing in my notes detailing what i’m seeing shot by shot. Then when I have written as much that has come to me in that moment, or I feel like the idea has enough of a personality to be explained, I call Mahalia. She answers reluctantly as I babble on for the next 10 minutes about the idea, then she lets me know if it's shit or not and if not I go back in and start adding all the smaller details and pulling references, make a treatment then I send it to her and she does all the calculations on how we make those scenes come to life and what we use as well as making comments on shots, then we have a meeting with our amazing producer sam and we go from there. And in terms of planning we usually just work with what we’ve got in terms of time.

As well as music you also have modelling and visual Director in your repertoire. How do all these other creative elements in your life come together to make your music (and visuals) what they are?

I am an extremely visual person I see everything in my minds eye and everything has a visual association or colour. With music  I usually see how a song feels in my head and have to translate it into sound (sounds complicated but it works for me!). And then of course the music sets off an avalanche for visual ideas so its all intertwined and they all feed  each other.

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