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Vi Strips Things Back for a Serendipitous Sunset on “Thought You Should Know”

The rising alt-pop star gets personal about depersonalization while offering a taste of her upcoming EP.

by Molly Labenski

Photos by Steph Montani

Toronto alt-pop rocker Vi may have a tough exterior, but in her latest video single she shows off her sensitive side during a sunset confessional. While her previous music videos have been edgy and jarring, “Thought You Should Know” revels in simplicity as Vi sings to the camera while walking alone during a sunset, emulating an intimate conversation between herself and the listener.

The risky single-shot filming style reflects the risky feeling of confiding personal secrets in others who may not understand. In our interview with Vi, she opens up about mental health, the experience of working with legendary producer-duo Chapters, and the pop-punk religion of Avril Lavigne.

Your previous music videos seem to have a lot going on visually, from juxtaposing settings, to special effects, to dramatic lighting. This video is a lot more simplistic. How did you decide on the concept?

We actually shot two videos in one day! Earlier that day, we were filming a video in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. We had just finished all of the shots we needed sunlight for, so we made the best use of our time before shooting the remaining nighttime shots for the other video. The surrounding area was so beautiful, and just as the sun was setting, we shot the video for “Thought You Should Know.” It felt very serendipitous with the timing and the way the sun was setting. I love the simplicity of the video; I feel like it highlights the emotions and stripped back feeling of the lyrics and the song as a whole.

One of the notable features of this video is that it was filmed all in one take. How does that speak to the message of the song and were there any obstacles in filming a video that way?

I love how one-take can be enough to encapsulate the feeling behind a song [and allows] the lyrics to stand out without any distraction. The song is about me having a difficult conversation with someone. I wanted it to feel like that. I wanted it to feel intimate. Time is of the essence because when you’re shooting during sunset, it doesn’t leave much room for mistakes, since the sun is slowly disappearing and it won’t hit the same from take to take. We took a quick test shot to make sure we were all on the same page, then did it all in one take and on the first take. One-takes can be unforgiving because there’s no room to edit out any mistakes or slip ups. I’m just glad I didn’t trip or mouth any of the words wrong.

Lyrically, the song seems to be simultaneously about someone else while also being very introspective. Can you tell us a bit about your inspiration for the song and the writing process?

I struggled a lot with self doubt, body dysmorphia, and depersonalization in my early twenties. For years I felt like I was alone in it. “Thought You Should Know” is about me coming forward and opening up about my internal struggles with someone very close to me who didn’t really understand why or how I felt that way. This song is about allowing space to have empathy and love for the person you are confiding in, even if they don’t understand you.

 

 

What was it like working with Grammy-winning producer-duo Chapters? How did they enhance the vision for your upcoming EP?

Working with Chapters has been a dream come true. Simon and Luke are family to me now. They’re my musical soulmates. When we first met, we started by writing one track together over Zoom because they are based in LA. We hit it off right away—everything felt so organic and aligned. I was so impressed by their skill and professionalism, while also allowing me to authentically tell my story and express myself through the music I write. I was so pleased after our first song was done, I flew to LA to continue working with them and we ended up writing an entire EP, which just poured out of us. We finished the entire project in ten days. They produced every song and executive produced the project as a whole. They are masterminds at their craft and this project feels so elevated because of our collaboration.

You recently had the chance to meet Avril Lavigne and cover one of her most notable songs, “Complicated.” What was that experience like and how has Avril influenced your music?

Honestly I’m still in disbelief. She was like my religion as a child. No joke. I would have vivid dreams of meeting her and would wake up so disappointed that it wasn’t reality. I grew up in Qatar and really idolized her as an artist, plus the fact that she was Canadian like me. She really influenced who I am all around as a person, especially in terms of fashion and musical taste. I love how her music is straight to the point and honest, which has influenced my writing style over the years.

What can fans expect to see from Vi this year?

Lots more music that I’ve been itching to share, as well as some amazing visuals and music videos to help tell the story behind the songs. And a couple surprises along the way. 

“Thought You Should Know” is out now on all streaming platforms and Vi’s upcoming EP, Till I Turn Blue, is coming out this fall.