The release of Swedish-Iranian artist Ayelle’s surreal video for her single, ‘Fast Life’, could not have been more timely. Global pandemic aside, the introspective track is a gentle reminder of the importance of taking a step back from our busy lives to focus on ourselves.
Having lived in many different locations – London, Stockholm, LA, New York and Valencia to name a few – Ayelle knows firsthand what it’s like to live a ‘Fast Life’. Her R&B-infused mixtape, ‘NOMAD’, released earlier this year curates these “jumble of experiences in different places” into 12 songs. The first track, ‘Fast Life’, acts as a “summary of this quest to belong when you belong to a million places at the same time. The key is to belong wholly to myself and to make a home out of wherever I am at the moment”.
The ‘Fast Life’ video, directed by Jackson Tisi and produced by April Chang, follows a “frozen” concept that was filmed in New York only two weeks before lockdown – “a premonition of sorts”, Ayelle jokes. The dreamlike visuals follow her as she twirls around a party, stuck in a freeze frame: “time has come to a standstill and I find myself in this self-care bubble, minding my own business whilst there’s a frozen party surrounding me where people are starting to act a bit stupid”. Amid Ayelle’s softly shot movements and sultry soundscape are frozen scenes of someone trying to eat a goldfish and others being absorbed by their phones.
“I wrote ‘Fast Life’ as I was entering a new phase of my life where I craved a lot of space, healing and self-care, but was finding it difficult to justify these cravings because our society and especially the music industry requires so much of our focus”, says Ayelle, when explaining her inspiration behind the track. “There’s this toxic work ethic narrative that makes us feel guilty for needing to take time out for ourselves, so we tend to numb the cravings for something more with alcohol and social media – this song was my way of opting out of that circus and making a conscious decision to put myself first”.
When life gets too ‘fast’ for the young, singer-songwriter, she finds “stepping back and clearing my mind allows my brain to then work so much more efficiently. I also feel like it frees up a lot of energy where sometimes certain emotions can get clogged”. Sharing with us her spirituality, she notes that “it helps to know that the Universe has got my back and that there are things my logical brain can’t predict or force to happen. The Universe is so much smarter than me so when I co-create instead of trying to force things to occur in a particular way, so many more doors tend to open and that’s where my faith comes from”.
So, how can we dance to the beat of our own drums, just like Ayelle? The electronic, R&B artist suggests: “make a list of self-care rituals that work for you, there’s no rulebook. I am constantly picking different things off my list depending on how I feel and what it is within me that needs tending to. A few things that work for me are meditation, yoga, tarot, baths, gratitude journaling and writing poetry”.