Right down to her name, singer/ filmmaker Kate Hollowell's synth-pop project, Number One Popstar, makes no attempt to hide where her ambitions truly lie.
Combining catchy hooks with a heavy dose of cynicism, Number One Popstar is back with her latest single, "TV," off her forthcoming album. And she's only after one thing: fame. Placing all her self-worth and validation on being as popular as possible, Hollowell leans into all the superficial clichés associated with being famous on "TV," singing about how great it will be once everyone knows her name.
Drawing inspiration from the iconic bean scene from the Who's seminal rock opera Tommy, "TV" arrives alongside a surreal Hollowell-directed music video filled to the brim with baked beans and foam. Full of infomercial parodies, tiaras, excercise bikes, guitar solos and pristine white interiors, the video sees Hollowell living out her fame fantasies before destroying it all in a nauseating hail of beans and foam.
"With new platforms and algorithms promising endless exposure and instant notoriety, we've created an existential crisis that's only alleviated by the constant approval and validation from strangers," Hollowell says. "One of the central themes of Tommy is the play between self and illusory self. In the music video, the character can only be happy when they're identifying with the illusory self they've created."
She continues, "For Number One Popstar, the fame seeking self is the illusory self. 'TV' is me outing my shadow and my desire to be known forever. But in the end, as a disgusting amount of beans pour from the television screen, we recognize that fame is an ugly, messy, empty and unfulfilling achievement."
PAPER caught up with Number One Popstar to go behind the scenes of "TV" and get all the info on how she made her "bean dream" a reality.
The incredible production team built the set in my driveway a few days leading up to the shoot. Almost everything was found for free on Craiglist since we knew it would eventually be destroyed. I was paying homage to such a specific scene from Tommy (1975 rock opera by The Who). Everything in the room had to be painted white knowing it would be covered in beans.