Caught up with James at his studio in the Korea Town neighborhood of Los Angeles. He played a few tracks from his upcoming album 'Thanks for Being Here'. After listening to 'Sunset Barbie Pink' we decided to make a video and it should be filmed on Hollywood Blvd. It's a place that always looked glamorous in photos but in reality, the streets are packed with tourists and it kind of smells like piss.
We filmed the day before I was leaving LA to come back to Detroit for a few months. The performance scene was shot in the Los Feliz apartment where I had been staying. The same balcony where I filmed scenes for California Dreamy. When filming California Dreamy, Stef Chura stopped by before her show at the Greek Theatre and ended up making a cool cameo in Sunset Barbie Pink. There's something about the way the sun hit those vertical blinds that I really love.
James and I had similar experiences when first arriving in LA. There's an idea in your mind about what it will feel like to be out there, everything is clean and beautiful and everyone looks famous. But once you settle in you see that LA isn't much different from any other place. People come to LA for different reasons, some pursuing a dream, some for the weather, some to escape their hometowns and start over, and some come just to see what the hype is all about.
James shared a story about his experience and how the song came together. He said “I moved to Los Angeles in the winter of 2017. I was clueless and generally overwhelmed. I took a cruise around Hollywood one afternoon and ended up writing what would become the verses of this song. I tried arranging the song in a lot of different ways but it never felt complete. One day I’m driving along Sunset Blvd. and this woman in a pink Corvette goes through a red light and almost crashes into me. I went home and finished the song.”
My only specific visual idea was to have James buy a pair of sunglasses. After a few hours of filming all over Hollywood Blvd we were waiting for a Lyft and we decided to get one more shot. Once traffic cleared we went into the middle of the street and James walked right at camera looking up at the sunset with Hollywood just off in the distance behind him and I knew we had something.
This is the third music video I've made with James and my first I've filmed in Los Angeles. Hopefully, many more to come.