premiere: shy lennox’s “signs” is a surreal dream come true

February 14, 2019
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Shy Lennox is a dream and “Signs” is such a proper initial dreamscape for the 21 year-old singer with the hypnotic voice dipped in honey molasses. In his music and visuals, he joins together surreal visuals with a calm, almost casual, sensuality and inventiveness that gets you excited about both his music but his visual storytelling. Nastassja Swift hand-sculpted the masks worn in the “Shy” video from cotton and wire. Pharoh Sistare, the creator of Palette Studios, styled the clothing for the video under my creative direction. The result is something too whimsical to be a nightmare, but too exciting to be a daydream. Shy Lennox told AFROPUNK, “It was important for me to hire Black artists because I knew they would understand exactly what kind of vibe I wanted this visual to have.” Lennox continues, “When it came time to make the visual match the music, I would not accept something incohesive. I believe visuals today are incredibly impactful, and I had to ensure that my first one was done perfectly.”

AFROPUNK spoke to Shy Lennox about his new video, the future, and the inspirations for his dreams. It’s quite obvious Lennox is one of those fully thought out artists that will be creating worlds and dreams for us for a long time. How lucky are we.

What was the visual inspiration for “Signs”?

I wrote “Signs” when I was deeply in love with my last serious partner. The visual adaptation is loosely based off of a dream I had last year on Valentine’s Day. I journaled the story as soon as I woke up, but I didn’t really make sense of it until months later. After making the connection between my vivid dream and my song, I planned to release the video exactly one year later for two reasons: I wanted to symbolize my own strength and new creative ability after leaving my partner, and I wanted it to be a gift to my listeners who can relate to the enchanting infatuation phase I lyrically outline in “Signs”.

What can new fans expect from you in the future?

Hopefully, a deeper connection to who Shy Lennox is through multiple mediums of art and behavior. I want to establish a strong sense of camaraderie with the Black queer community through my music.

What is the inspiration for your upcoming project?

As of right now, there is no official project I am working towards, however I am always drawing inspiration from my reality along with the experiences of other Black people. With regards to my musical influences, I would have to mention the early R&B period, romantic opera as a whole, and my college music professors.

Define what Black means to you today.

Being Black is being so blatantly beautiful that those who aren’t Black will never fully accept or understand your delicacy. Being Black is an identity of strength and safety that I wear proudly like a permanent badge of honor. Black is not only the color of my skin, but an expression of who I am, who I was, and who I will be. Black is a superhuman quality that evokes love, perseverance, and a magic-like ability. To me, being Black is the inability to be transparent because you are constantly shining.

Define freedom.

I am not exactly sure how to completely define freedom yet. I am only twenty-one years old and am still figuring out my individual liberties, and how to coexist in a world where I am statistically set up to fail. I will say that from what I have learned so far, actually being free is totally different than feeling free.