This is going to be the first of many Spotlight posts. In these kind of posts I’ll be shining the spotlight on to different talented creative people from music and film – from directors, to producers, to musicians, to stylists. To not only the people in front of the camera but those behind them, and to not only those on stage but those behind the scenes.
The person behind some of the most popular music videos on the web right now is a lady whose passion for directing and creating visuals that I envy is the talented Hannah Lux Davis.
Who has she worked with??
Time to drop some names: Nicki Minaj, Drake, Lil Wayne, Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, Tinashe, Jessie J, Miley Cyrus, Wiz Khalifa, Mike.Will.Made.It, Paris Hilton, Jason Derulo, Fifth Harmony, David Guetta and Demi Lovato. And that’s not even all of them.
When did I start paying attention to Hannah?
The first video that I remember watching and noticing the name ‘Hannah Lux Davis’ appear onscreen was Rich Gang’s video for “Tapout” in May 2013. Since then her name became more recognisable to me as she began to work on more music videos with big names, getting millions and millions of views in total on YouTube. Hannah has said herself that the video for Lil Wayne’s “Love Me” was her breakout video. The video was when she worked with her first big name client and met rappers Drake and Future.
What’s her background – where is she from, what did she study?
Hannah went to film school with a passion to direct. At the age of 20 she was a PA on-set, learning the ways of the trade, knowing that she’d rather be the one in the director’s chair. In order to get behind the camera she went to make up school, using it as an avenue to take still frames of her work. Her background was in make-up and photography but she always wanted to be a director.
Working with these major artists is not an opportunity handed out easily – it requires talent and creativity. In order to get your foot through the artist’s door, to even be considered, your treatments need to be perfect.
A treatment is a pdf similar to a mood board. With your treatment the director will use images and write details of what they envision the video should look like. The best treatments that the video commissioner gets are sent to the artist and to their management.
“You want to be intentional with the shots that you use so it feels, not necessarily that you’re doing a full-blown story, but that you’re trying to say something.” – H.L.D.
What makes Hannah Lux Davis’ videos so great? What do her videos offer that others don’t? Does she have a distinct style? Could you tell a Lux Davis video from another director’s?
Hannah is very detail orientated as a director. She will work from hair and makeup and editing and all areas in order to get the visuals that she wants.
Her background in makeup may be why the ladies in her videos are always confident and look great. The women in her videos ooze confidence and beauty without being hypersexualised (which is unlike most rap/hip hop videos). The women in Hannah’s videos are strong women that look good.
She works closely with the female artists. She’s known to regularly text Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj to discuss ideas and Hannah will write her treatments based on that. She builds trust and forms creative relationships with the artist. It’s very much women working with women – which is not only great but also empowering.
Why I like Hannah Lux Davis:
She’s a female working in a male dominated industry (she noted once that Drake seemed a little surprised to find that their director was indeed a woman when him and Lil Wayne were on set). Not only is this important for the women that work with her as Hannah is in control of how they’re portrayed on camera, but it also gives female aspiring directors a woman to look up to and think ‘This career and this success can be possible for me’.
Style doesn’t resonate. It doesn’t last. It doesn’t leave you with something. If a music video moves you and makes you feel something that’s the goal. -H.L.D.
Check out some of Hannah’s videos below: