| Northwest Florida Daily News
DESTIN – If you don’t know what you’re doing, just sway.
If you do, sway anyway.
Destin musician Skylar Capri dropped the music video for her single, “Sway,” on Sept. 18, and the first line of the chorus, “I don’t know what I’m doing, so I sway,” has never felt more relevant.
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“The whole goal was for this song to be about the word, sway, just that feeling of dancing when you don’t know what to do, when there’s not really an answer,” Capri said. “It’s OK to still have a good time and just enjoy yourself in the moment. I think that’s really reflective of the situation we’re all in now with COVID.”
The song didn’t always have such a philosophical connotation. Capri wrote the lyrics awhile ago with her friend Ben Lowrimore, she said, with a slightly different — but equally optimistic — picture in mind.
“I definitely started off writing the song almost as a fun random high school adventure of this girl who had a crush on a boy who was out of her league and she doesn’t know what to do, so she just awkwardly dances,” Capri said. “That was the vision I had behind the song. Then it evolved into a more meaningful thing to me personally.”
Filming the video is Capri’s favorite part of the story, though.
“I can’t even tell you how much fun it was,” Capri said. “It was pure joy to do something creative and something I’ve honestly dreamed about for maybe three years.”
Her sweet adolescent theme was the concept for the music video.
Capri collaborated on the video with her close friend and professional videographer Keno Manuel. They met in art class at Niceville High School in her first year in a public high school after being home schooled.
“We just shared this immense passion for creating new things and wanting to impact the world in a positive way and wanting to bring new art to the table,” Capri said. “We always told each other that one day whenever I would release my first song, we would come together and make the coolest video.”
The goal was to make a high-quality video on par with the videos from other music industry professionals, Capri said. But she also wanted to keep it local.
“I’m really passionate about involving people in my community,” Capri said. “I think there’s so many incredibly creative people here that don’t have the opportunity to share that all the time. It is a smaller community. It’s not like Atlanta, Nashville or Los Angeles where there’s a million creative things going on all the time. Here, we have to make our own creative opportunities.”
Together, Capri and Manuel came up with a storyline for the music video and filmed it in three days.
“We thought we were so in over our heads,” Capri said. “What you’re seeing in the music video is exactly what we had envisioned. We just weren’t completely sure we could pull it off. But we knew that we had to, so we just put our heads down and mulled through it and made sure we could make it happen.”
With the help of her friends and community members, Capri did all the set design, costuming, casting and performing.
The video starts with Capri at Mary’s Kitchen in Destin, whose managers agreed to let her film there. They didn’t spend a dime on set design, Capri said.
“There was a whole room we filmed in that is entirely an ombré effect of colors made with paint swatches from Home Depot, which is really cool,” Capri said. “That was a free project. They gave us all those paint swatches for free because they were so excited — the employees at Home Depot — that I wanted to make this video.”
In the following scenes, Capri is featured dancing and playing games at a sleepover with friends she cast: Ashleigh Pierce, Cassidy Berry, Elizabeth Savoie and Emmaleigh Thompson. She also costumed them.
“The whole intention of the shoot was for it to be very pastel, pink, fun, bubbly — kind of a vintage aesthetic,” Capri said.
She recruited Olivia Reeths from Inspired Studios in Valparaiso to help with the choreography.
One of Capri’s favorite but last-minute features was a team of dancers who wanted to participate on the third and final day of filming.
“That morning, I get a call from Stephon Jackson,” Capri said. “He calls me and says, ‘I heard about your music video. My whole dance team and I really want to be apart of it.’ I was like, ‘Ya know, it would be so cool to have a dance scene,’ where it was like a dance circle and everybody have a fun time. So I had him and his dance team come, and I asked them to wear pastel colors and they killed it.”
They filmed each dancer freestyle dancing to the chorus.
“They were just incredible,” Capri said. “Blew my mind.”
Seeing the video come to life through a combination of hard work, a community rallying behind them and a matter of fate inspired Capri and Manuel. Since completing it, Capri has been recording new music in Nashville, Tennessee, and Manuel continues to pursue videography with more confidence than ever.
“This project proved to both of us that we’re capable of doing what we want to do,” Capri said. “He told me this whole project boosted his confidence a lot. It taught him that he can do the things he sets his mind to, even if they seem too hard to achieve. If you believe in what you’re doing and support it with a lot of work and intention, I just really believe anything’s possible.”