Pop/Soul artist Olivia Castriota has released a powerful music video for her deeply personal single, “Kills Me”. The raw, heartbreaking honesty of the track reveals the very painful realization that you’ve outgrown a relationship and it must come to an end. The journal entry she wrote on the day of the break-up to deal with the hurt, she would turn into “Kills Me” three years later. “As I reread the words from my past self, and felt the familiar pain all over again, I knew it was time to put it to music,” says Olivia.
The NYC-based singer-songwriter admires the strength, outspokenness, and music of female pop artists Tove Lo, Anne Marie, Donna Missal and Bishop Briggs who she also cites as her influences. She is also inspired by artists Joss Stone, Etta James, D’Angelo, and Ed Sheehan.
Olivia’s debut album, All At Once, peaked at #2 on iTunes US New Album Release Charts in 2015. Her single “Weekend Lover” released in August 2018, garnered over 17K streams on Spotify. Overall, she has had 27K streams on the platform. She has performed intimate to sold-out shows across the country, including the world-famous Apollo Theatre where she stole the stage five times in four years at their Amateur Night.
Olivia will be releasing additional forthcoming singles and performing various live shows to finish out 2018.
The concept for the “Kills Me” video was developed by Olivia with Director & Editor Azur Mele and Creative Director, Dina Vibes. It was filmed entirely on location at The Hunter Greenhouse located 20 miles outside of New York City.
The video opens inside the house with Olivia swaying in time as her quiet, yet commanding vocals lay out her vulnerability about the moment where a relationship has come to an end. Interwoven between inside shots are close-ups of her outside in the shining sunlight, giving you the feeling that she is hopeful things may turn around as the lyrics convey.
However, her hope is shattered and brilliantly portrayed in the next scene with an up-close shot of a dropped plate breaking into pieces, and you sense it’s Olivia’s heart. From here, the story unfurls majestically through the lens of the camera, as Olivia unveils her heartbreak one scene at a time.
Several scenes following the opening are several quick creative shots of Olivia inside and out of the house. You can truly feel the building tension and the pain she expresses not only physically but also through her compelling vocals. Olivia’s expressive movements make you feel like they’re naturally choreographed to the emotive lyrics, resulting in a strong visual soundscape of musicality that really moves you.
There is a shift in the emotional perspective many times throughout the video, beginning with the lead up to the chorus. It is here where you become her ex-lover, ducking from the clothes she’s throwing at you while she verbally lets loose. It shifts again during the chorus where you see Olivia in contemplative poses around the house that reflect how the breakup has affected her. You can really feel her pain, heartache, and anguish unleashed in her powerhouse vocals during the song’s climactic chorus.
From here, there is an intriguing back and forth of two scenes depicting the emotional rollercoaster ride of her going through the breakup. The first scene is where you experience her anger erupt passionately as Olivia dresses down her ex-lover inside a car which is contrasted with a close-up of Olivia behind a rain-splattered window giving you the sense these are her tears of disappointment and/or sadness.
Back to the chorus, the imagery changes to a series of ingenious shots that represent her emotions through texture — the goosebumps on her legs, sunlight softly filtering through her hair, water streaking down a shower door, water flowing over her as she is huddled on the shower floor, the crisp ripping in half of a playing card, the tight squeeze of a sponge that expels frothy suds, and her hand running over coarse carpet.
Throughout the video, you’re left hanging as the chorus cleverly teases with the unfinished line “It kills me that -“. When Olivia reveals what it is, this enables everything to come together into one defining scene at the very end of the video. In the last shot, you see Olivia, dressed in a towel, like she’s fresh from a shower, waving goodbye to you from inside the house. You can feel the symbolism of her turning and walking away as she sings “It kills me that….” Then comes a “drop the mic” moment carried out in a scintillating way as she lets you know with finality that “I’ve outgrown you.”
The “Kills Me” music video is a powerful portrayal of how heartbreak feels amongst the wreckage of a painful breakup.
Q&A with Olivia Castriota
“Kill Me” is your deeply personal single about the painful realization of knowing you’ve outgrown a relationship and it has to end. How did you feel about making the music video?
I was really nervous about making this video because I knew I had to get myself back to that really heartbroken place where the song started from in order for it translate. I was obviously excited to make another music video but I knew it was going to take a lot out of me.
What is the concept of the video?
We really wanted this video to be unlike any other video I’d done before. We wanted it to be darker, more emotional, more relatable than anything else. We’re giving you pain, we’re giving you emotional rawness and representation of what pure heartbreak looks like. It’s showing the struggle, the vulnerability, the wreckage that happens when something so destructive consumes you and then finally comes to an end.
How was the concept developed?
I developed the concept with Director & Editor, Azur Mele, and Creative Director, Dina Vibes. It was a lot of emails and 2:00 AM texts going back and forth discussing what we wanted everything to look like. We had a beautiful four-page schedule and shot list but of course, once we got into filming we improved a little bit and those are some of the best shots! I personally, love a schedule, but taking time to improv and be in the moment is really important too!
Explain your involvement in the making of the video.
My involvement begins with being the artist and having some initial ideas of what I want the video to look like. Having an awesome best friend who also just happens to slay in her field of styling and creative directing is the second step. I discussed wanting to make this video with Dina and then in typical Dina Vibes fashion, she assembles the team that’s most fitting for the project. She knew that Azur would be the perfect person to Direct and Edit this video. And she was right. From there, it was an open discussion of ideas between myself, Dina and Azur. I also do a lot of the behind the scenes work, AKA: scheduling, location, car rentals, being the snack queen etc. Overall, it was is a true team effort. There are so many moving parts and everyone helped in whatever way we needed.
Why was The Hunter Greenhouse, a renovated mountain house 2 hours north from NYC, chosen for the video to be shot? What was the experience like?
Well first off, who doesn’t love getting out of the city for a hot second? I fell in love with The Hunter Greenhouse immediately and knew that it fit the vibe that I wanted visually. Danielle and Ely were super accommodating and made it a wonderful experience for us to shoot at their home. We absolutely loved this location and it gave us the freedom we needed to let our creative energy flow.
Getting to the house was the real experience. We rented an SUV, packed it full with five people and tons of luggage and music video essentials, and then drove a few hours up and down winding roads that were kind of terrifying. Eventually, we made it safe and sound, but boy was it a JOURNEY.
Tell us more about the award-winning producers of the video. How did you get the opportunity to have them produce it?
Sometimes you get an opportunity you’d never expect and at that moment you have to be brave and jump on it. So, I did.
What do you want people to come away with after watching the video?
I want people to feel shook and be like “wait, play that again.” I wanted to create a visual of my representation of heartbreak and I really think people will relate to it.