Sarah Hudson has become a staple songwriter in today's pop industry, famously penning hits for powerhouses like Katy Perry ("Swish Swish"), Charli XCX ("Babygirl"), Dua Lipa ("Genesis"), and more. The Los Angeles musician broke out as a solo artist this year with her Songs From The Sea EP—a poetic six-track project that sees Hudson exploring the natural elements and ultimately realizing her most spiritual self.
The accompanying short film visualizes the story of Hudson's EP, pairing each track with a different environment and self-styled look. We see the artist singing to the ocean with a red train billowing behind her, before diving into the sea; we see her dressed in all black and multiplied like crows on a tree; at one point, Hudson thrashes her braids through a psychedelic filter, before walking with a horse and ending in a beautiful bed of wildflowers.
Watch Songs From The Sea and read more about the short, below.
OUT: What story are you telling through this short film?
Sarah Hudson: I am telling my cathartic story up until this point in my life. The EP starts with "Mermaid," which is basically about me feeling different from everybody else. I was always the outcast, the rebel, not like the other girls. For the longest time I wanted to be recognized for my talents and felt like I literally had to convince people to love me: "Say you love this mermaid."
Then "Black Crow" is my struggles with the dark side in my life. No matter how hard I tried, it would always come back to haunt me. Being a creative and an empath, I am so sensitive and in touch with my emotions and the emotions around me, so I really had to learn to deal with the lows and stay on my hustle to reach the light.
"Voices" is all about anxiety—my journey in overcoming my conditioning as a child, the voices in my head, the fear of living my truth as a writer and an artist. Then it moves into
"Love Me This Way," which is basically all about acceptance and being OK with my mistakes, forgiving myself and surrendering to spirit, God, my higher power: "When I arrive at Heaven's gate, could you love me this way?" as I am, flawed and all.
The EP ends with "Wildflowers," which is about pure peace. I feel like I have finally arrived at a place of peace in my life—my soul connection with my spiritual self: "It's true that you are a part of me"—you being the spiritual side of my being. I have arrived at the end of this EP to a purely authentic, beautiful place in my life.
The video is rooted in nature, as is the EP. Why was this important to you?
Each song on the EP is connected to a magical element: "Mermaid" is water, "Black Crow" is air, "Voices" is fire, "Gypsy Girl" is goddess mother nature, "Love Me This Way" is spirit and "Wildflowers" is earth. Filming in nature was essential. We filmed in two different locations that my goddess of a director, Liza Voloshin, found. The first was at a magical house in the Pacific Palisades—it was actually Bruce Springsteen’s old house, which had such a vibrant energy. We did a lot of the outdoor forest and underwater scenes there. The second location was deep in the hills and cliffs of Malibu. The gorgeous flower fields, the ocean scenes and incredible tree for "Black Crow" were all shot in Malibu.
"Mermaid" is the opener, with gorgeous shots of crashing waves and you swimming through the ocean. What's your relationship to water?
I have been told (and just know in my being) that I had a past life as a mermaid in Atlantis. I feel so free in the ocean, but also so in awe. The ocean embodies such power and strength, but also is the most cleansing, pure and peaceful place. It is one of the only places I feel at home. I can stay in the ocean for hours and sometimes I feel so inspired in the ocean that I literally cry and say so many prayers of gratitude while I am swimming—dramatic but true. Songs From The Sea is like saying songs from my heart, my home, the purest place I know.
How did you find Liza Voloshin and what was your experience working with her on the treatment?
Liza is one of my very close angel goddess friends. I knew she was the only person that could execute this video for me. She is a visionary who is so connected to feminine, feline, power energy. She understands the female body and spirit, and the ethereal nature of a goddess. I went to her with my initial vision, explaining that each song was connected to the elements, that it needed to tell a cohesive story visually to match the story of the EP and that I wanted it to feel like a spiritual acid trip. She came back to me with her story board and we tweaked it from there until it was something we both were obsessed with. During the process of filming, she was so strong in her vision, direction and execution, but also allowed me to have my creative freedom. It was a dream come true.
What were you referencing through your Songs From the Sea film?
My references for this EP and film were Enya, meditation, psychedelics, hippies, mother earth, Stevie Nicks, my practice of magic, the elementals, fairies, cults, forests, Tori Amos, Tokyo, daisies, velvet, jellyfish, crystals and obviously the ocean.
You did all the styling in this film. How important is fashion in your work?
Fashion has always been a major part of my aesthetic and my creative expression—it is one of my passions. For this film, I felt it needed to be simple and whimsical, and really let the songs tell the story with pops of color throughout. More than anything, I wanted the looks to support the music. I have worked with a ton of incredible stylists over the years, but no one quite captures my essence besides me.
What have you learned about yourself through creating this EP and short film?
Ive learned that I need to be constantly putting out music because it is why I breathe. I've also learned that I can't depend on anyone else to do anything for me besides myself. I've gotten this far by being a fucking hustler, and I’m not about to stop now. I have the vision for myself as an artist and that's how it's gonna stay.
This film is your own work with your name attached. Is this scary?
It's not scary, its liberating. I have no expectations with releasing my own music now and that has been so liberating. I am doing it purely for the need to create and execute my vision, and I don’t care what anyone thinks anymore. That is pure freedom.
Are you concerned with trends?
Never—I start them.
Stream Sarah Hudson's Songs From The Sea, below.