As founder and MD of LEVILE, a leading casting agency for diverse talent and audiences, Ola Christian has been casting director on dozens of UK-produced music videos in the past few years, …
The Questionnaire: Holly Blakey
Holly Blakey is 27, comes from North Yorkshire, lives in Hackney with two cats, and in just over two years has established herself as one of the most sought-after choreographers working in British videos.
Working on videos for the likes of Jon Hopkins, Mø, and The Kooks, she already has a couple of MVA nominations under her belt, including for Jungle's Time, directed by Oliver Hadlee Pearch, last year. Already this year new videos for Benjamin, Itch and Ellie Goulding have appeared showcasing her work. And if that's not enough, Holly may be about to start making waves as a director: her second video for Glitches just came out too. So we thought it was about time to ask her a few questions...
Education: Should be available to everyone
Previous occupations: Dancer, receptionist, waitress, waitress, waitress
Favourite music video of the past 12 months? Muscle - Gwilym Gold – directed by Eddie Peake
Favourite video of all time? Destiny’s Child, Lose My Breath
Favourite publications/websites: Legion-tv.com, Nowness, Facebook
Favourite food/restaurant: Sitting at the bar in Nopi
Favourite drink/drug: Grey Goose Martini’s, Echinacea
Last movie you saw (and was it any good)? Whiplash and yes - but not as good as Birdman
Favourite directors: There are so many, so to state the obvious, Wim Wenders for his work on Pina, Paolo Sorrentino for The Great Beauty – and pretty much everything Ian Pons Jewell has been up to for the last few years.
Last gig you went to (and was it any good)? I think the last gig I went to was a girl called GEoRGiA… she’s completely amazing, she represents a thousand things I love about music, dancing and women.
"Best moment? Being able to make a living out of making dances. It’s quite a hilarious concept really"
Favourite bands/artists: If I’m madly honest I’ve got Popcaan and D’Angelo on repeat the moment. I always put Wild Beasts on at 5am and start barking about how forward thinking they are with my mates.
Currently reading/favourite book: A Girl Is A Half Formed Thing by Eimear McBride and The People of Paper by Salvador Plascencia; which I almost wish I hadn’t read for lack of finding anything as gorgeous since.
What was the first music video you worked on - and what were you doing on that job? Jessie Ware’s Night Light. I was choreographing and also trying to make people believe I wasn’t shitting myself.
Favourite job of the past 12 months? There are always different reasons why you end up loving a certain jobs. But I’m going to say Ellie Goulding’s Love Me Like You Do. Georgia Hudson is a powerhouse, I have endless respect for her.
What’s the next Big Thing you’re working on? I have quite a few live shows coming up, collaborations with different artists and musicians such as Hannah Perry, Mica Levi, Lucy Railton, Phoebe Davies and a few others things I’m sworn to secrecy about. I’m also directing more this year and choreographing a few really exciting things… but again, going to have to watch this space (sorry)!
What would most improve your life? If I had a garden for my cats
Best moment, or fondest memory, of your career thus far? Being able to make a living out of making dances. It’s quite a hilarious concept really.
Worst moment? When I sent a producer a text I meant to send to my manager
Biggest frustration? We need to find a way to make sure dancers are properly renumerated for what it is they do. They have trained too hard for too long to be expected to work for peanuts.
What’s the big issue or issues facing music video makers right now? There ain't no cash in the music biz.
Person you most admire? All working mothers. How do they do that?
What advice would you give to someone starting out in music video production? Graft like a motherfucker, because at the moment no one knows how talented you are.
Any hot tips on who will be the future stars in music video in the next couple of years – directors or otherwise? …. I don’t know, me hopefully ;)
- Holly is represented by Ben at Box Management (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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