Gordon Gekko might not approve of the upcoming music video release for “Greedy” by Taylor Simone, CC ’14. Her ’70s Bronx-hip-hop-themed video will screen for the first time on Feb. 22, at Vareli, followed by an online release on Feb. 23.
Simone, who has been a singer-songwriter since high school, released her first album, “Songs From The Front Yard,” which featured “Greedy” last September.
“Greedy” explores greed and the fleeting nature of material goods, and Simone manages to deliver her critique with a catchy melody by layering harmonies.
“I talked to my friend about literally how man-made money is. ... We had so much belief in the system, but then we had a recession,” Simone said. “It’s so man-made and fragile. We should be careful with what we hinge all our success and dreams on.”
Simone said that her roommate Soleil Grant, CC ’14, enjoyed “Greedy” so much that she became the video’s executive producer and creative director.
“Forty-five seconds into hearing the track, I saw visuals for it,” Grant said. The pair then recruited a small crew of six and raised money for the video through the crowd funding platform Indiegogo, garnering $942 of their $5,000 goal.
The team shot “Greedy” at a Brooklyn warehouse studio in December, relying on a full crew of dancers, directors, cameramen, and makeup artists.
“Before this, I didn’t really understand the nuances [of making music videos], from what you wear to lighting,” Simone said, noting that she had only done live performances before filming “Greedy.”
The project is also Grant’s first professional video production and the roommates both point out how many individuals were involved in the production.
Dancer Emily Scherer, CC ’16, said that it was difficult to find a common rehearsal time for everyone involved, “but because we had such a low budget, it really turned into a passion project,” she said.
Integrating thrift shop outfits and a paint-covered piano, “Greedy” had Scherer and other dancers doing choreography in stairwells and elevators.
“We finished the song dancing on the roof,” Scherer said, “And because we were such a small cast, the dancers really had to focus on acting as well as dancing.
Scherer provided a sneak peek into the dance routines, which portray a gang of female artists.
“There may or may not be smashed vases, graffiti, and destroyed property to look forward to,” Scherer said. “Let’s just say I had paint stuck under my nails for the next week.”
After over two months of production, Simone and Grant both expressed satisfaction with the final product, which, according to Grant, harbors something “really special and subversive and provocative.”
“It’s not necessarily a satire, but kind of poking fun at what is prevalent in certain subgenres of hip-hop,” Simone said.
Moving forward, Simone is ready to scale her musical career down a notch and re-focus on her essential skills.
“I’m probably going to release a couple more songs before I graduate,” Simone said. “I’m going to get down on the groundwork by improving piano and theory skills.”
The release party for “Greedy” will be at 10 p.m. Saturday at Vareli, 2869 Broadway, between 111th and 112th streets.