Rina Sawayama is not only of the world's freshest, fastest-rising pop stars, but the singer-songwriter, who, over the past few years has quickly amassed an intensely loyal following, is the latest musician to openly sing about being pansexual.
As such, Sawayama's latest single, a sugary-sweet bop called "Cherry" muses on the affections of the "girl gaze," something she recently opened up about to PAPER. "There was a girl on the tube that gave me the "look" before a session and it set the song in motion in my head," Sawayama said. "I've identified as queer/pan since several years ago but because of experiences of shame when I was growing up that's the main emotion that comes up whenever I have non-heterosexual feelings. In the past, my feelings have been erased, minimized and mocked, and I've been told by people that my desires are temporary, even suggestions that it's just a concealed desire to cheat. All of those anecdotes are included in the song."
And so for the visual treatment following, it makes sense that "Cherry" is celebratory of queer experience — an intentional move away from the shame Sawayama addresses in the song. In the first frame for the lush video, directed by Isaac Lock, Sawayama is lying on the floor of a barebones dance studio, covered in cherry blossom petals (and rocking a chic strawberry-colored coif). She rises to lead a fully expressive choreographed routine with a diverse cast of dancers, who create beautiful lines around her and in formation. This motion becomes a symbol of community, and makes the song an infinitely more powerful declaration.
Don't miss the "Cherry" video, below, and catch tickets to Sawayama's upcoming Ordinary Superstar fall tour, kicking off on September 12 in Brooklyn. Dates are also below.
Ordinary Superstar Tour 2018:
9/12 - Elsewhere - Brooklyn, NY
9/13 - Bowery Ballroom - New York, NY
9/14 - Subterranean - Chicago, IL
9/15 - Velvet Underground - Toronto, ON
9/18 - Teragram - Los Angeles, CA
9/20 - Rickshaw Stop - San Francisco, CA
10/19 - Heaven - London, UK
Photography: Isaac Lock