Shybaby Is Anything But Shy

Shybaby Is Anything But Shy

by Justine Fisher

There’s nothing shy about Shybaby’s new music video, premiering today on PAPER. From the back of a U-Haul, the singer-songwriter gets loud in the fun, free and unfiltered visual for her most recent single, "Kiki doesn’t like it when you leave me at the party," which is produced by Joe Rogers, and directed by Molly Mary O’Brien and Grace Eire (Shybaby’s alter ego).

From one of the first scenes of her atop a colorful armchair inside the grimy moving truck, Shybaby casts herself as "a piece of human furniture." This reflects her feelings of being unfulfilled and objectified in a poly relationship, which she said inspired the song, adding that she found herself "reaching for intimacy wherever I could find it" in a love affair that wasn’t good for her. In fact, the title refers directly to a time when her friend, Kiki, disapproved of her partner abandoning her at a party for an orgy with another partner.

As the video progresses, Shybaby adds bright, DIY details to the scene, while indulging in ice cream cake, airheads, booze, and gambling, all against the dull backdrop of the truck. Capturing this dichotomy, Shybaby emphasizes the meaning of a giant glass bowl of Froot Loops. She said the idea "haunted" her as the perfect metaphor for what we think we want from love because, "They’re just so bad for you and brightly colored but also so, so good and pretty."

Though taking on the persona of Shybaby is where she said she feels "happiest," the artist added that "all the songs are pretty sad and dramatic," and this new single is no exception. At the end of the video, she is dropped, while still on top of the chair, on the side of the road, reflecting her literal dumping in the relationship. But with this, Shybaby said, "Ultimately, I’m free."

Shybaby’s Brooklyn punk style is a testament to this sense of liberation, as she underscored how music is "where I can be so loud and heard and felt." In contrast to her viola background, the musician said she doesn’t stress as Shybaby. Instead, she has fun with it and writes songs that are "raw, kind of like a first, unfiltered thought."

Having recorded the song a few years ago, she said that finally "the right people have come onto the project at all the right times" for the video, including her producer and co-director. She also shouted out Jake Pflum on guitar and Ben Hansen on bass, who are both featured in the video wearing shirts that read "Human Furniture," alongside interpretive dancer Camilia Araque.

Following today’s release and her first single, "Pizza," Shybaby has even more coming with her debut album, Is This Intimate, dropping September 2022.

Photography: Alex Howard