We spoke to Iris about filming in Ghana, the perception of African countries in the West and working with the Ghanaian equivalent of Michael Jackson.
UK-born, Danish-raised, Jamaican-Indian soul pop queen Iris Gold is on the scene in 2018. After her powerful track “All I Really Know” made waves towards the end of last year, she followed up with a diverse future soul medley, The Interlude EP.
Her latest release is a bundle of anthemic summer vibes in the form of “Roll it Out”. The colorful vibrancy of this track is mirrored in the culture and spirit of Ghanaian living. We spoke with Iris about filming in Ghana, the perception of African countries in the West and working with the Ghanaian equivalent of Michael Jackson.
How did you come up with the idea for the music video?
Well the track and video features Manifest and he is based in Ghana, so I wanted to use this opportunity to shoot in Accra. The idea behind the video was to just shoot everyday people and everyday life whilst mixing in a splash of fashion flavor.
What was it like traveling to Ghana? Had you ever been to Africa?
It was amazing! I had been to Egypt, but this was totally different. Plus I stayed with Manifest’s friends so no tourist resort business. There were so many mango trees, I was in heaven. They’re my favorite.
What was the atmosphere like on set? Was it a free-flowing experience or was it more structured and planned out?
Me and my friend and the director of the video, Alex (Alexander Kaiser Lauritzen), arrived together and the entire next day was spent planning the scenes. Then, we started shooting at about 3am and we didn’t stop until late in the evening. So instead of shooting a little bit over a few days, we pretty much did it all in one day.
How did the local people react to your whole crew?
Well, Manifest is pretty much like Michael Jackson in Ghana. It was crazy. Everywhere we went, he would get stopped for selfies. Overall people were super friendly and really wanted to help!
Filmed in Ghana and reflecting the local flavor, this video celebrates black culture and particularly African culture. What does this mean to you?
Well my Grandad’s best friend was Ghanaian and I grew up with his children all my life. I also ended up living with them for a few years… I had been told so much about the country and culture, so to actually go and see it with my own eyes was something else.
In the West, I think we are mainly shown images of poverty from African countries. I wish everyone could see for themselves what I saw. It was so much more than what we are shown or what we are taught to expect in Western countries. There is an overwhelming amount of beauty, creativity and vibrancy. Plenty of room for creative inspiration.
Was the choice of wardrobe significant to you for this video?
Oh for sure!! I wanted the ladies to be green and minty fresh. I think we achieved this. Manifest is so damn cool and fly; I knew I had to come and represent. I wanted to use mainly Danish designers with the Ghanaian backdrop to create a beautiful saucy fusion.
The video features you getting your hair done at a Ghanaian barber. For many women, and black women in particular, the relationship we have with our hair can be deeply personal. What does this look like for you?
Well I put it out there in the video haha. You’re right it is quite intimate, but I wanted to invite people in. Jessy, who is a friend of Manifest’s crew is a super dope hair stylist, artist, all around beautiful spirit and I wanted to share her work as well.
Was there anything about the environment there that grabbed you, maybe that we don’t see in the video?
Yeah, we drove up in the mountains where Rita Marley lives. It was too beautiful for words up there. The drone we had with us didn’t work so unfortunately the shoots we did there are not in the video.