Lana Condor Is Authentic and Free in 'For Real'

Lana Condor Is Authentic and Free in 'For Real'

by Riley Runnells

Lana Condor is showing her authentic free spirit in the music video for her new track, "For Real."

After gaining a devoted audience as the lead in Netflix's To All The Boys I've Loved Before, this is her first solo song. Co-written by Lana and fellow musician Andrew Tufano, the dreamy, indie pop track describes knowing a love is real when you can feel confident being on your own and still know you'll come back home to the one you love.

Condor made her music debut on her boyfriend Anthony De La Torre's track "Raining in London" and the two released a cover of Lauv's "I Like Me Better," which was part of the To All The Boys soundtrack.

The video features Condor solo in her house journaling, eating pizza and dancing around, which she felt was accurate to the world right now.

"I kind of love that it is such a stripped down video and that we couldn't have a lot of people involved because it feels appropriate to the recurring theme of being by oneself," Condor said.

PAPER asked Lana to talk the "For Real" creative process, shooting a music video versus a film and more.

Tell me about the inspiration for your track "For Real" and the accompanying video.

A lot of the inspiration for "For Real" came from having to do reshoots for TATB3 during the shutdown due to COVID. My boyfriend, and our producer and writer for the track, Andrew Tufano, had been sheltering in place together writing music and trying to spend the time inside being creative and productive in a way that felt healthy for us. It came up that I had to travel to Vancouver mid quarantine and it really kind of threw me a little. I was nervous about traveling and nervous about leaving in general after finally being in one place for longer than a couple weeks. A lot of those nerves came from reflecting on what it was like to always be on the road, traveling place to place, and never feeling rooted, pre-COVID. I felt like I lived in hotels and Airbnb and lived in this whirlwind. And a lot of that time, I was doing that traveling alone. Granted, Anthony would travel with me as much as his schedule allowed and because he's the best boyfriend ever haha! But I often felt so sad leaving and going off on my own, while simultaneously feeling empowered and knowing it's healthy to depend on yourself. And I think a huge part of me feeling this duality was knowing that I was always going to be able to come "home" to my love and that he'd be there holding down the fort and that our relationship is stronger than any distance, that it is real. That's kind of what inspired this track and simultaneously this video.

Walk me through the creative process. What was it like creating the track and the video in the middle of a pandemic?

Definitely a very new experience. Like I said, our writer/producer was quarantining with us so we were able to record the track in our kitchen together! Which felt very comfortable and I honestly loved doing that. The video was a little harder to do because we had to have a VERY small skeleton crew to shoot it since we obviously wanted to keep it as socially distanced as possible. But my director Ariel Lofaro and DP Nick Klesmith are really talented and were able to pull it off. And honestly, I kind of love that it is such a stripped down video and that we couldn't have a lot of people involved because it feels appropriate to the recurring theme of being by oneself.

Will audiences see "For Real" attached to the next To All The Boys in any capacity, or is this more just a Lana project?

It would be so awesome to have "For Real" be a part of the "To All The Boys" franchise somehow, but it's really more of a Lana project. However, I have full intention to have my music in future film and television that I do! I have more music coming out soon that was written with the intention of being cinematic and usable in upcoming projects!

What is it like for you navigating the transition between films and shorter form music videos? Since you were just playing yourself in the video, did it feel vulnerable to you rather than portraying a character?

I think besides the obvious difference in the size of the crews and film being just generally a bigger effort, the transition wasn't one that I felt was difficult. If anything, it's kind of refreshing to do shorter form videos because you have a little more control in how it comes out and feels very collaborative. In the few music videos we've done so far, we've always hired our talented friends to work on them, which is also super fun and collaborative. I love seeing my friend's artistry and seeing how we can really make something cool, together. I definitely think there are aspects of feeling like you don't have a character to kind of hide behind when I'm just being me, but honestly, I've done a lot of work on feeling comfortable as myself and embracing what makes me me, so it didn't feel nearly as vulnerable as it would've made me feel in the past.

Stream "For Real," below.

Photography: Ariel Lofaro