Last month, POESY shared her anthemic new single, “Diamonds,” which shows the Canadian singer-songwriter channeling Florence + The Machine as she pairs her deep, sonorous vocals with stormy, throbbing beats. Now the rising alt-pop artist is back with a video for the track, premiering below.
“I worked on [the video] with my best friend Kate Harrison, who directed it and found our crew of talented misfits,” POESY tells American Songwriter over email. The visual shows the Big Machine signee and former The Launch contestant—born Sarah Botelho—venturing into the woods for an emotionally gripping, physically demanding performance of the song. It’s the perfect setting for POESY to run free, as the Toronto-based musician describes her approach to singing as “cathartic… like yelling as loud as you can into a forest, except in key.”
We caught up with POESY about how “Diamonds” and the accompanying video came together, how she’s coping with the ongoing pandemic, and why she’s already looking forward to her next releases. Check out the interview and watch her new forest flick below.
American Songwriter: When did you first write and record “Diamonds”? What’s the song about?
POESY: I wrote and recorded “Diamonds” in the spring of 2018, so about two years ago. I always think of songs as little pieces of time in your life—they show you a window into who you used to be. So it’s quite refreshing that a song I wrote years ago is still something that rings true to me. “Diamonds” is about the pressure we put on ourselves, the “you should’ve already accomplished this by now” mentality. The last line of the chorus—“be gentle”—is something I’m constantly reminding myself, and especially with the way the world is right now, I think it’s something we all need to hear. Be gentle with yourself. You’re doing the best you can.
Your vocal performance in “Diamonds” is so powerful. What are some feelings that drive the song? And are there any singers you wanted to channel?
Thank you! The lead vocal take on the track is actually the original take from the day we wrote the song. That’s incredibly special to me, because I can hear the subtle differences in how my voice has changed and how there are moments where it isn’t necessarily how I would sing it now, but I think that’s a kind of magic. In a way, the recording itself is an exercise of being gentle for me.
When I sing it, I feel triumphant—like I’ve been through something hard and I’m persistent to overcome it. It’s cathartic—it’s like yelling as loud as you can into a forest, except in key. There’s definitely the power vocal of Amy Lee and Florence Welch in there. In the chorus harmonies, I think I was aiming for a Peter Gabriel moment; just totally all encompassing and warm and in your veins.
How’d the accompanying video come together?
The video for “Diamonds” is one of the things I’m most proud of [releasing] thus far. I worked on it with my best friend Kate Harrison, who directed it and found our crew of talented misfits. We met for months in parks discussing how to make it perfect and I’m so grateful to her.
“Diamonds” is largely a transitional piece and we wanted to totally capture what the version of POESY going forward was going to be. We decided to film it up north at my bandmate Will [O’Donnell’s] cottage to embody the ethereal/nature aspect of the music. And to be honest, I wildly undershot how physically demanding the video would be. I was running barefoot through the forest in the dark, falling, balancing on logs, and had to do this huge jump off a dock. It really challenged me. That’s part of the story of POESY—the rebirth and the rising to the occasion and the doing the hard thing to ultimately shine through on the other side.
What have the last few months looked like for you during the pandemic? Have you been working on any other new music since the release of your Glassbox Confessional EP in 2019?
All over the place! A lot of picking up/revisiting old hobbies—knitting, baking, making kombucha, sewing, roller skating. I adopted a cat named Penny who is my whole world. Basically just trying to recenter myself in a changing world and do everything and anything to get inspired.
I’ve actually been feeling quite called to make things the past few months and have really developed my at-home demo setup. I am in a phase of total creativity right now, very eager to get back into the studio and record the next few tracks. As soon as a release is out, I’m already planning the birthday of the next one.