For several years, R&B artist Janine has written heartfelt music from the inside out.
Her debut album 99, released last year, provided an emotional soundtrack for her life in and out of love, fusing the approachable warmth and melodies of '90s-inspired R&B with deeply personal lyrics. It's only right then that "Never the Right Time," one of 99's most evocative offerings, be given a stunningly dreamy visual treatment, directed by Paul Capra.
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Janine, who wrote the video's treatment, describes making it as "a beautiful challenge," having worked directly with Capra to bring the visual concepts to life. "I love being a part of the directing," she told PAPER. "I think when I am the most hands-on, it connects with my fans the most, as well."
Janine deftly navigates the grief cycles of a breakup, from the isolation of heartbreak to the renewal of self-love, through gorgeous, mood-driven imagery. In the opening shot, she is depressed with red wine and candles in the bathtub; then, adrift in a vast, unfamiliar ocean; then, cloaked in a lover's embrace; and, in a cathartic scene, she's atop a cliff, gazing out into the horizon. The visuals, which are alternately surreal and serene, accurately show what a mind-trip it is to go through a relationship's end. Only the real can relate.
"When I came up with the concept I was obsessed with the aesthetic of jumping between worlds, from the bathtub to the ocean," she said. "The amazing thing is that it started as a visual concept and turned out to be my emotional story and awakening at the same time."
On some of the video's most beautiful scenes, featuring Janine getting cozy with another woman, she noted that her intentions were to depict what it's like to start over with someone new after heartbreak. "It's usually strange being with someone for the first time after a relationship," she said. "I wanted to create that tension, it doesn't have to be sexual. Sometimes, it's a conversation or meaningful friendship, or maybe it is an intimate moment... or few moments."
For Janine, the song's message is deliberately unrelated to what she wanted to portray in the video, but that contradiction is part of what gives her art its universal appeal. "While the song is actually about being torn as to whether to take a friendship any further for fear of ruining things, and not about the emotional connection and self-love cycle after a breakup, I think the two concepts merge beautifully," she said.
Watch the PAPER premiere of Janine's "Never the Right Time," below.
Stills courtesy of Paul Capra