V PREMIERE: Love Bailey, Shenis

V PREMIERE: Love Bailey, Shenis

Ahead of the release of "Shenis", Love Bailey sits down with friend Teddy Quinlivan to chat visuals, process, and inspiration.

Ahead of the release of "Shenis", Love Bailey sits down with friend Teddy Quinlivan to chat visuals, process, and inspiration.

Read Teddy Quinlivan's interview with Love Bailey on "Shenis" below.

Teddy Quinlivan: Hi Love! I’m happy to talk to you, because I’m so excited for the "Shenis" music video. When you conceive the ideas for videos, does the song or visuals come first for you?

Love Bailey: They usually come hand-in-hand! When I was writing "Shenis", it was a cinematic story that I’m telling in my head. So, usually when I write the lyrics, the visuals are right there. 

TQ: What inspired that particular introduction to this video?

LB: The visuals of the house on fire are part of a full feature film that I’m working on called Slather It Up!, and it actually became a sort of puzzle piece. I didn’t know until I went through this really bad breakup where a boy turned out to be a different person than he led on to be.

Looking back at it, the lyrics to "Shenis" are about this breakup. I’ve been through this before where because I’m trans, I'm someone’s exception to their sexuality, but I now know I don’t want to be the exception, I want to be someone’s preference. I’ve had enough of that, and that’s the story that this song and video are telling.

TQ: This is a song about embracing yourself and that you are never going to settle for someone who isn’t going to love you for you.

LB: People don’t quite understand the struggles we go through as trans women. Being trans comes with its own walls that we have to break down in a relationship. With men treating us like a fetish & woman never accepting us,  there are a lot of tribulations that we go through that people don’t get.

TQ: Was "Shenis" a song for other trans women, or was it to the men that have broken your heart?

LB: It’s for empowered trans women who embrace their bodies and don’t succumb to the pressures of society telling us that we have to be passable. There’s no definition for what makes you a woman other than your own journey.

TQ: From the conception of the song to the very end when the video is ready to be released, how long does that take and how much goes into that process?

LB: It can usually take about two months for me, but I can tell you that there have been so many versions of "Shenis" and this video. It’s like conceiving a child & I can’t wait to just get it out of me. After it’s out there, there’s no turning back!

It takes a village to make this happen. From my long creative meetings with co collaborator Scotty Sussman to making the beat with my friend Dion Shaw produced by Tyler Stone to choreographing it with Ambrose, The many edit sessions with Zae Bear, to working with all of the trans cast members. We’re really pulling in a lot of resources and asking favors from people because we don’t necessarily have the budget to pay people that I wish I could. It takes faith to make it happen.

Love Bailey, "Shenis". Photo by Easton Schirra.

TQ: It’s amazing that on such a small budget you still come up with something so grand and spectacular. It’s so inclusive of trans individuals, and it’s not just empty words.

LB: If I could make visuals for trans people for the rest of my life, I would be happy.

TQ: What is your advice to trans girls who feel like they’re lost and alone and can’t find love?

LB: Boys come and go and money and fame comes and goes, but that passion and flame and drive you have inside is forever. As long as you have that with you, you’ll never be alone.

TQ: Tell me about the wardrobe and styling in this music video.

LB: For every video, I like to have a few couture pieces made. Along with that, my stylist Star Burleigh pulled an amazing rack. A lot of the designers, like GCDS, were so supportive of this trans message. I had a Jean Paul Gaultier couture jacket and Balmain in the Vegas scenes. Seth Pratt made a piece as well and The blondes spike corset. A lot of young queer designers as well as established fashion houses came together and made it all happen.

TQ: What has been your connection to fashion throughout your life?

LB: A lot of old movies that my grandmother showed me. Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, and all of that old Hollywood iconography as well as the stories in Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon really stuck with me.

TQ: What is the significance between all of the destinations this video is shot in?

LB: I’m always driving from the ranch to La. I worked and lived in Vegas for six months, dancing with Pamela Anderson in a magic show. So this follows “Hollywood Hooker” and how, after working as an escort, I worked in Vegas. After that, I went to Hollywood. That’s where I grew up dancing with my grandmother, and now it’s where I’m at trying to make this magic happen.

TQ: How do you deal with the hardship of this hustle?

LB: The rejection is the only variable that’s a constant. As long as you know that, those hurdles aren’t so difficult. One yes is all it takes, and as long as you’re putting yourself out there and believing in yourself, the opportunities will come.

TQ: Besides your grandmother being such an inspiration to you, how do your friends, like Scotty Sussman, influence the creation of your work?

LB: I see so much beauty in those around me and keep them close to me. I’m a Libra, so I’m naturally drawn to inspirational people. Nothing of greatness happens in a bubble.

It’s so funny, because people only think of Scotty as this facade of Sussi. He stripped back those layers and killed that character. People don’t know that he is a beautiful songwriter with a gorgeous voice. So we feed off of each other. He’s also a fellow Libra.

TQ: What’s going on in the future?

LB: I just had a the producer Street Fever stay at the ranch for a month long artist residency, and we’re cooking up an album. Each track is a collaboration with another trans artist. I hope to put out more empowering messages, like "Shenis" and share that with the world!

See the video for Shenis by Love Bailey above.

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