In her new music video, “Gold,” Natalie Burke, nom de plume Nat Reed, glows as her painted, fluorescent skin gleams under a blacklight. Although this is her first professional music video, she exudes the confidence and sensuality of someone far more experienced.
The 20-year-old student at Berklee College of Music recently collaborated with Nathan Noyes of Ash + Bone Cinema in LA to produce the video. “I decided to just play him my song without giving him any of my ideas, and he came up with basically everything that’s in the video. It definitely tells a seductive story which works with the song,” she said.
The video’s production quality is impressive, considering Noyes didn’t use a studio or props. Without even leaving his apartment to shoot, Noyes transports Reed to the jungle, bedroom, and outer space. “That scene when I’m with the plants, I’m actually just on the ground in his living room with like 10 houseplants around me,” Reed explained.
In another scene, Reed lounges as a tousled coquette in bed, pulling at the neckline of her dress. The third scene portrays her as an ethereal alien dancing in the dark. Like prey lured to the light of an anglerfish, Reed draws the eye as she sings in the blacklight.
At first, the scenes seem contrived. (What does glow-in-the-dark face paint have to do with lyrics about leaving your wedding ring at home?) But, after Reed clarified the song’s backstory, the music and video make more sense: “I actually wrote the song about celebrities. They’re the gold that everyone wants, but they’re not necessarily happy with that. It’s about the juxtaposition of everyone wanting to be you, but you don’t want to be you,” she said.
The other, less explicit theme in “Gold” is temptation. “I tried to take a seductive side from the perspective of a fan who thinks they know the celebrity and thinks, ‘I actually want you,’ but really they just want the idea of who that celebrity is,” she explained.
The lyrics, “I left my ring at home / cause I’ve been looking for you / Babe you’re just like gold,” imply the pursuit of an extramarital affair and a desire for material things.
Lyrics aside, the video’s aesthetic and execution are excellent. Each shot plays with a different type of light. Contrasting reds and greens in the plant scene draw the viewer’s eye to Reed’s face, gossamer afternoon light in the bedroom shots lends a romantic quality to the setting, and the blacklight adds an extraterrestrial element to the video, illuminating just enough detail to discern what’s happening in the shot.
The video’s half speed, slow-motion tempo also enhances the song’s romantic mood. “Nathan actually filmed the video in double time and then slowed it down to give it that dreamy quality,” Reed explained. Too often music videos ignore the musician’s message in favor of something that’s exciting to watch. “Music videos have always inspired me. I think they’re meant to expand the story of the song,” she said.
If a music video is supposed to strike a balance between being aesthetically pleasing and relevant to the musician’s message, then Reed and Noyes’ video definitely succeeds.