Check out the video for “Here I Am,” a gorgeous daydream of a song from Buffalo, New York-born musician MiWi La Lupa. La Lupa is a former member of eclectic Brooklyn funk band Red Baraat, and has plaid trumpet alongside David Byrne, Bill Frisell, Femi Kuti, Charlie Hunter, and El-P. “Here I Am” hails from his debut album, the folk and country blending New Way Home, which was just released on Team Love Records.
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Director Michael Allen laid out his creative vision for us. “When we were first discussing ideas for the video, the memory of watching Miwi playing cards and drinking with his family at his mom’s dining room table in Buffalo was stuck in my mind for some reason. I never wanted to do anything narrative, and just following the nostalgic tone of the song felt obvious for this one. I was trying to recreate reliable memories by shooting in actual significant places to Miwi. I wanted the video to be warm and cold, joyous and melancholy, all the constantly contradicting emotions I feel when I listen to the record.
“We shot in Buffalo at the bar, Mcgarrets (formerly Heenans) in Buffalo, where Miwi played hundreds of gigs back in the day, as well as the church he went to as a boy, and at his Mom’s house where he grew up with his whole family over. I’m pretty sure Miwi hadn’t slept at all the night before the morning of the shoot. I was worried how he would hold up, but he really held his shit together and we actually shot two videos over the course of about 18 hours spanning two days. We celebrated with Bocce pizza and Tito’s vodka.”
“Though it’s true, I hadn’t slept the night before flying to Buffalo, I felt comfortable in front of his camera and with his direction,” says La Lupa. “The weather was atrocious. First stop was my Mom’s church that I grew up in featuring the biggest Black Jesus on the wall. I never thought anything was strange about this as a kid, and I still don’t. I am now aware that it could turn heads. It was also neat to film in this room where my grandparents names are engraved in the windows. I never got to meet them, so it feels like a tribute to them. “The ghosts go walking right next to my side” never felt more true than shooting that there.
“The family shots were especially fun to make. My niece and I practiced the humming parts, and she can really carry a tune! The spades game is a family tradition, and my Aunt Gingee and I are pretty much unstoppable. I just love being in that house around the holidays as everyone is in good spirits and the house is filled with my family, my awesome nieces and nephew, food, spirits and music the whole night! Basically, this video is about as real as I get. ”