In the new music feature Origins, musicians share unique insights into their most recent single. Today, the great Yola tells us how she shines like “Starlight”.
After sharing lead single “Diamond Studded Shoes” and title track “Stand for Myself” off her upcoming sophomore album, Yola is back today with a third taste, “Starlight”. According to the Grammy-nominated British artist, the song is “about looking for positive physical, sexual and human connections at every level of your journey towards love.”
Of course, that includes that occasional fling, harmless but still nurturing. The sultry track, featuring additional percussion and electric guitar from Stand for Myself producer Dan Auerbach, finds Yola cooly and patiently waiting to fulfill her smoldering desire. “Ain’t no crime, sometimes we just wanna feel good,” she sings. “Like we should.”
The “Starlight” music video reflects this idea that “temporary or transitory doesn’t have to be meaningless or miserable,” as Yola puts it. Directed by Ford Fairchild, the beautifully neon drenched clip is Yola’s attempt to present a positive representation of Black female sexuality. “The volume of media dedicated to showing dark skinned Black women having a nice normal time in romantic situations, be it true love or just dating, is still lacking in my opinion,” she explains.
Check out the visuals below, followed by Yola’s Origins of the song. Then, click over to the Consequence Instagram page, where Yola is taking over our account all day, including an exclusive look at her first-ever performance of “Starlight”.
I wrote this song because the world seems to attach a negative trope of cold heartlessness to the concept of any sexual connection that isn’t in a marriage or long term relationship setting. This song looks through a lens of warmth specifically when it comes to sex positivity. All love, sex and connection can be nurturing even if it’s not forever, I know that seems obvious, but we don’t see it enough. It’s like the lens of living connections was curated by Disney!
UK radio when I was growing up is quite different than listening experience to the radio in the US. You can go to any station and will find that there is very little genre-centric radio programming. Nirvana followed by Bjork and then A Tribe Called Quest right after would be more than typical! It helped broaden my musical palette and helped me find some incredible music that I was able to connect with in different aspects of my life. “Starlight” in particular definitely draws on my love for ’90s and ’00s R&B and neo soul, which often was on the top 40 charts show — thanks Trevor Nelson!
Mother’s Record Collection:
I feel like this “Starlight” channels some of my Mother’s record collection — My mom was a DJ of sorts working as a hospital DJ on a wing for the mentally disabled. She used to play a lot of disco, funk and soul music and we had a bunch of great Barry White, Earth Wind and Fire slow jams (like “After the Love Has Gone”) which I loved and I feel their energy in this track!
Issa Rae’s Insecure:
This video was inspired somewhat by Issa Rae’s Insecure and her showing Dark skinned Black women having a nice normal time in romantic situations, be it true love or just dating. The “Starlight” video depicts a narrative of two people that wanna smash but also think the other is pretty cool. We don’t know if they’re destined to be together, and that isn’t the point. The point is that it’s a pretty typical story we’ve all lived, and it’s time we saw it represented for everyone. This is just my contribution to the media-verse, may it dissolve all the toxic representations of Black women in your mind with every frame.