Typically, Angi3 is a fierce performer with raw attitude dripping from her perpetually sneering lips. However, in her latest video, “Damage,” the artist is forced to confront the aftermath of her actions. Contrary to the unstoppable, high-energy, bratty swagger present in her previous work, “Damage” is a compelling and poignant offering that allows Angi3 to brandish a captivating vulnerability.
Examiner: The video for “Damage” is such a strong contrast to your previous work, the more solemn mood and slower pacing are perfect for the song. Who came up with the concept?
Angi3: Thanks so much! I’m so hopelessly in love with this video. The concept was thought up by my amazing friends/directors Tessa Greenberg and Grier Dill. They’ve been behind all of the Angi3 videos, but when they sent me the treatment for this one, honest to God, I got goosebumps everywhere. It was the first idea they sent me, and it ended up being the one we rolled with because I was so moved by it.
Examiner: “Damage” is exceptionally powerful because, in many ways, it seems like a response to your other tracks: you’ve done some damage in those previous songs and this is like you are owning up in the aftermath. Was any of that kind of thinking going through your head while making this video, or were you just trying to create the strongest story possible for the song?
Angi3: Well, every song I write and/or release is about something that happened/is happening to me, so I guess, though I really didn’t think about it quite that way initially, “Damage” really did end up being the song/video where I have my “Oh f***!” moment and own up to my mess.
Examiner: The key to making this concept work is you being at the center of it all, you being present while the hazmat guys are working around you. Were there other scenarios considered that didn’t involve you being in the middle of the action, or did you know this was the one that worked right from the start?
Angi3: This was the plan from the get-go. My number one reference to the video crew was that scene in Garden State where Andrew Largeman [played by Zach Braff] drops ecstasy and sits on the couch while the world flies by around him. I’ve always thought that scene of the movie was so powerful because everyone has felt that lonely-even-though-you’re-not-alone feeling at one time or another, and I knew our take on that was going to knock it out of the park.
Examiner: “Damage” was actually filmed in the house you grew up in, wasn’t it?
Angi3: Oh my gosh, not only did I grow up in that house (my mom still lives there), but that room in the basement where we filmed was party central for me through high school and college — when I was making my best terrible decisions. I’ve definitely woken up in that room more than a time or two wondering what kind of unnecessary drama I had caused the night before.
Examiner: Were there specific items in the video that were pulled from your life?
Angi3: All of the props are real things in my house, i.e., the pictures, the “Cedar Cliff High School” stationary, etc. Also, in the stair scene, you see one of my prom photos and my confirmation photo from 8th grade on either side of me.
Examiner: Does that mean the jacket you are wearing in that stairs scene is your real jacket from high school?
Angi3: The jacket is actually my younger brother’s real varsity hockey jacket! He was a star hockey player at our high school! Stephen Howe Jr., one of my best friends from Pennsylvania as well as one of my favorite artistic minds ever, styled me for the video and insisted on the jacket. He was right, I ended up loving it. I always try to put little clues in my videos that only my people from home will pick up on. I like my videos to be a kind of Harrisburg’s Where’s Waldo? book. I think it’s a really cool, settling thing to pay homage to where you came from. It tells you a lot more about yourself than you think you know.
Examiner: Are there any stories of parties you’d like to share that were a direct influence on any aspects/details of this video?
Angi3: The one specific booze-fueled, romantic disaster that the song is about — which is a whole other story in itself — actually took place in New York City. But let the record show, I am now happily together with the person that “Damage” is about, so I ended up cleaning up the mess, eventually. It’s never too late, even if you are an incurable party girl drama queen!
Examiner: So, the song, itself, was inspired by one, specific incident?
Angi3: Long story short, I was dating around and met someone I knew was (and still is) “the one.” Then, in true Angie fashion, I partied too hard one night, told “the one” that he wasn’t the only one . . . and everything blew up in my face. This soured relationship had a huge ripple effect of awful. I’d never been in love before (or since), so I was seriously buggin’ on another level this time. So much so, that I just felt completely numb to everything, even music, at times.
But that was a little under two years ago, so filming the video was a really cathartic experience for me because I knew that I ended up turning it all around — something I hadn’t been able to do before that sh***y, self-induced whirlwind knocked me off my feet.
Examiner: In other videos, your energy is infectious, it’s impossible not to feel pumped up when watching/listening. In this one, you are absolutely riveting, the quiet introspective side is captivating. Even the rap is performed with a subdued (visually, at least) energy. Was it hard/scary to be so vulnerable?
Angi3: Thank you so much for saying that — I don’t think I’ve ever been complimented as “riveting,” and I really appreciate that. You know, it really wasn’t hard to be so vulnerable. I think in the vulnerability of this one, I’ve actually ended up discovering a new strength. Less really is more, sometimes. And, stripping away all the bouncy energy and still being able to capture people’s attention — maybe more this time around — now, that’s something really awesome that I didn’t see coming. The releases that follow “Damage” are really influenced by the overarching comfort I felt in baring all and showing my fans a little more of what goes on in my crazy brain. But when it all comes down to it, as long as I can write as much music as I want, I’m invincible. So, if vulnerability is what comes out, then yeah, I’m running with it!