Music

Watch Petite Meller's Artistic Flight for "Aeroplane"

In an avant-garde video full of fashion, symbolism, and choreography, the musician crowd-surfs across America.
Reading time 8 minutes

Petite Meller is the fashion world's dream music artist. With a signature beauty look (blonde and pale, but with incredibly bright blush in tribute to a childhood sunburn), an eclectic sound, and mesmerizing artistic videos she films in collaboration with director A.T. Mann, it's no wonder the French music artist has sat in top brands' front rows at fashion week and worked with many a high-profile photographer on editorial shoots. So the video for "Aeroplane," which we are premiering today two months after the song's release, is unsurprisingly not just any accompaniment but an artistic visual feast.

The video shows Meller on a journey across America to see her friend, embracing the imagery and travel methods of her fellow airplanes all the way. From racing down runways while flapping the feathery arms of a traffic-cone-orange coat to stoically looking to the skies as a sea of dancers lifts her to facilitate the journey, the artist truly becomes as aircraft-like as humanly possible. All the while, she finds moments to pause her travels as well, whether dramatically kneeling and singing as her companions execute high-energy choreography, laying in a residential swimming pool, or taking it all in at JFK Airport's TWA Flight Center. Meller's new video actually marks the first time an artist has used the center for this purpose since its grand reopening in May, and its fitting that the air travel attraction makes its music debut amidst avant-garde visuals for a song about its title transportation. Three months after Louis Vuitton showed its Cruise 2020 collection inside TWA, the terminal feels only more at the center of culture thanks to Meller's masterpiece. Honestly, the video belongs in a travel museum somewhere to show the truly artistic places airplane inspiration can go.

Marking the video premiere, Meller opened up to L'Officiel USA about the process of creating the Mann-directed masterpiece as well as her thoughts on her truly artistic music and fashion experiences. Beyond having talent and a distinct look, the musician seems excited about future potential for creativity and collaboration, so she's definitely one to watch. View the aesthetically pleasing video below, then read on to learn more.

How did you first get into music? 

As a child, I used sing to myself. Songs came into my mind like little presents. But I didn’t acknowledge I’d like to be a singer till I went on stage. Then it became the place I belonged to, my home. As a teenager, philosophy classes really triggered my mind. I would hide a stack of pages of songs between my notebooks, scribbling words that later became songs.

On one trip to New York, a jazz saxophone player that stood on the side of the street near the Brooklyn ferry took me back to the sounds I grew up on. I wrote "NYC Time" about that experience. I uploaded the video to YouTube and was found by a British manager who transported me to London. Then I wrote "Baby Love" with a Swedish producer named Jocke Ahlund, who I also collaborated with on my new single "Aeroplane."

How would you describe your sound?

Someone lately compared my music to electronic Paul Simon's "Graceland" meets a Bowish Nikka Costa. I think that's the closest definition.

What inspired “Aeroplane” and what message are you trying to share with this latest track?

I wrote "Aeroplane" while traveling on an aeroplane to Rio. As soon as I landed, I fell in love with the Portuguese language of the stewardesses. I recorded it, which was later used on the song at the studio with Malcolm McCarthy (Bubba). The beat came from "Eskista", a a bird dance with a 6/8 beat.

I wanted to show a different kind of flying, one that happens when I put my headphones on and walk on the street. I start to fly and lose gravity. My ear is my compass. Sounds send me to far away places. The bongos send me to Africa in "Baby Love" and the flute sends me to Mongolia in "The Flute." My travels for shooting the videos connect me with different groups of people everywhere on the globe.

Can you talk about the process of turning this song into a colorful music video?

I always imagine the visuals while in studio writing the songs, I have the treatments for my next videos already envisioned, scenes from Tarkovsky, The Trial by Orson Welles and George Lucas. Little homages to classic cinema moments I love.

Before "Aeroplane," a dance school called Rockwell had sent me their dance for my first single, "Baby Love," on Instagram. I loved it and asked, "Why don’t you dance to my next song?" I flew from LA to Connecticut to film with them. It was a great adventure. Also, it was exciting to be the first to film at The TWA airport in JFK. I wanted to show how music connects us between borders and can take you anywhere.

You soar across the world in your video. Where is your ideal destination?

In the "Aeroplane" video directed by A.T.Mann, who directed all my videos, I fly through the USA, east coast to west coast to meet my friend on the other side in Mexico. I'm carried by random people along the USA. They become a part of the creation. The reference scene is Juliette Binoche in Bad Blood, where she is flying on the runway and takeoffs like an aircraft. 

These are all the places I’ve been dreaming about traveling to.

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When and where do you find creative inspiration?

An old painting in the museum, libraries, classic old cinema like Antonioni and Tarkovsky, Visconti. Philosophy books, walking on the street, and listening to random conversations. Whatever I absorb - it’s really important what you absorb. It carries the seeds of what you are going to bring out of you.

Your look is always transforming to accompany the artistic visions of each of your videos. What do you think is the power of fashion in enhancing your music?

As a child, I was harshly sun burnt in the face, and as a teenager, I started to wear the blush for the memory of that experience. For me, to wear your trauma proudly is the essence of fashion.

You have caught the fashion world's attention, now often attending shows and working with high-profile photographers. How would you describe your style?

I'm really lucky to work with legendary photographers. Douglas Kirkland asked to shoot me for his private archive last week He shot the famous photos of Marilyn Monroe in bed and just celebrated his 85th birthday. It felt like an awkward dream for me. I wouldn’t expect it in a billion years.

I'm really thankful of the special, beautiful people I get to meet in this life.

What advice would you have for someone looking to pursue a career in music?

Make your dreams a reality. Follow your ears. It’s the strongest organ for a musician. Aspire to be the muse of your own muse. And if you cry from your music, the world will cry too. 

What do you want to see happen in the music industry?

I love the new wave of talking about mental issues in songs openly. I’d like to see people wearing more blush on a work day.

After the premiere of the “Aeroplane” music video, what’s next for you?

My new album! I’ve recorded 40 piece strings in Russia. It was funny as we did it via Skype, but to see 40 people in suits, sitting and playing my songs, made me cry. They usually play scores and then comes a pop song from Diane Warren - it was truly a larger then life moment. I’m constantly excited!

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