How Michael Love Michael is breaking down the music industry's barriers

How Michael Love Michael is breaking down the music industry's barriers

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How Michael Love Michael is breaking down the music industry's barriers

The singer-songwriter talks to V about the concept behind the song 6 Jaguars, making music in quarantine and white supremacy.

The singer-songwriter talks to V about the concept behind the song 6 Jaguars, making music in quarantine and white supremacy.

Photography: Brett Lindell

Styling: Lou Mairone

Text: Kala Herh

On a flight from New York City to Dallas, Michael Love Michael found the inspiration for "6 Jaguars". For the four-hour plane ride, they were seated next to a man and his wife who were “drinking tequila shots they smuggled onto the plane,” the Chicago-raised artist laughed. After a couple of drinks, the man divulged, “I actually have six jaguars in a garage because I collect them.” And with that, Michael’s new song was born.

In a conversation with V, the 32-year-old songwriter shared how the song is a commentary about extreme wealth and how it affords people the luxury of shutting off from all of the world’s problem. In both the song and the music video, Michael takes up an alter ego, playing the man’s wife. “I wrote the song from the perspective of this silent, but like, very privileged woman,” they shared. The music video is saturated with opulence — in the form of jewels, satin and crochet moments. Here, Michael adopts the persona of this woman who “goes along with everything,” yet simultaneously shows a desire to break free and the slow progression to which they do so.

Shirt, Vest, Skirt, Cuffs: Gucci   Headband: Gigi Burris

The song “6 Jaguars” is from Michael Love Michael’s self-released, debut album XO. XO, in all its emotional vulnerability, is filled with powerful, lush ballads. And then there’s the music video, which was directed and produced by Michael, styled by Lou Mairone, choreographed by Megan Curet and photographed by Brett Lindell. But these are not the only star collaborators on this project. For the album’s punchy beats, the artist called on Rich Dasilva, a longtime creative partner. Together, the pair co-produced their first album. Michael wrote most the album in quarantine with Dasilva, sharing that the studio sessions were mostly done over FaceTime. Both creators would flow and then Michael would record vocals on their iPhone with a sheet over their head in the bathtub.

Top: Palomo Spain     Earrings: Lanvin

“I write and sing for the child in me that always had dreams,” they said. “I write and sing for the child in me that was disappointed and let down. I write and sing for the child in me that needs someone to stand up for them.”

Coat: Fendi            Boots: Rick Owens

Pulling a page from Toni Morrison and James Baldwin, Black artists they look up to, they use their art to fight injustices: “They always talk about making people see you,” Michael elaborated. “I'm tired of giving white supremacy the upper hand and any say in how I am living my life. They can see it and they can eat it.” Also during our conversation, Michael spoke about Daunte Wright who was the “latest in the string of police brutality” in the United States. And on that thread, they shared a key piece for Black creators. “As a Black artist, as a Black queer person, etc, is to rest and take very good care of myself,” they said. “And to make sure that I'm hydrated, moisturized, and nourished. Because I can't fight anything if I'm exhausted.” While they’ve prioritized this crucial period of rest, they’ve also made time to work, teasing new music that will be released this summer.

Credits:
Producer/Director/Concept: Michael Love Michael
Photographer/Art Direction: Brett Lindell
Fashion Direction: Lou Mairone
DP/Editor: Esther
Makeup: Disco
Fashion Assistant: Adesuwa Odiase
Choreographer: Megan Curet

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