“Ah, you are Cami”, It was the first thing that Mon Laferte released to Camila Grandi, the day they met. It was December 21, 2021, in Bajo La Montaña, a peaceful event center nestled among the exuberant jungle of Tepoztlán, on the slopes of Tepozteco. There, where tradition indicates the birthplace of the civilizing god Quetzalcoatl, the singer and the director recorded a session for Tiny Desk, the famous series of live presentations organized by NPR, through which names such as C Tangana, Belle and Sebastian, Ed Sheeran, among others, have passed.
That was a leap in the promising career of Grandi (28). An audiovisual producer who since 2016 has made a name for herself among the most reputable directors of video clips in the country. Therefore, in her curriculum you can find works with Francisca Valenzuela, Cami, Benjamin Walker, Denise Rosenthal, Schuster, Young Cister, among others. That is to say, her signature is repeated throughout the breadth of Chilean pop.
This was how Mon Laferte herself contacted her at the beginning of 2021. “She started to follow me on Instagram and there she wrote to me,” remember Camila in a video call with Worship. At first, the idea was to work on a video clip that was going to be shot on location in Chile and Mexico. But, it did not materialize. “She had to go back to Mexico to record and I remember that she told me: ‘Cami, things happen for a reason. It’s because we’re going to do something much better.’”
Soon after, Grandi had to fly to the Aztec country for other projects. “In September and October, Fran Valenzuela took me to Mexico to record some video clips with her.. That’s when Mon found out I was there and she wrote me ‘Cami, how long will you stay?’. That was how she got the chance to direct the shooting of the Tiny Desk.
In principle, the director had chosen a church in Tepoztlán as the location. “It is a small town, very magical. La Mon wanted the video to feel very Mexican. So there was a church and I liked it because it was something very Mexican, the Virgin of Guadalupe and all that,” he explains.
But since the date coincided with religious festivities, they suddenly had to look for another place. Thus, the singer took the initiative; she went to the events center and sent videos to the director. “He told me he loved it. Then I saw him and it seemed to me that he was very small. I told him that we were barely going to fit in with his musicians, but he told me ‘it doesn’t matter, I want to do it there anyway’”.
As in those days the Viñamarina was in an advanced pregnancy, she could only meet Camila on the day of the shoot. Without prior rehearsal, the singer did the entire session in one take, during a single day of filming. “La Mon could hardly move because of her pregnancy, but she arrived and sang”remember.
Camila Grandi was attracted to video clips since she was a child. “I was a big fan of MTV. The most traumatic video, but the one that most caught my attention, was the one of Rock DJ by Robbie Williams. I love that video”. She even remembers that this hobby made her part of her life. “When I was 13 years old, she would take my friends, grab songs, put them on and record them with a tiny cybershot, then edit them. I recently found some, they were very funny”.
Years later, and after studying digital communication for a year, the future videographer entered the Audiovisual Communication career at UNIACC. There, she says she, she began recording acoustic sessions to record musicians. “We organized ourselves with my course, I directed, someone made art, and so on.” Her decisive moment was when her ex Amango, Kevin Vázquez, contacted her to make a video clip of her. “He did covers, and since he was recording acoustic sessions, he asked me if I made videos. In truth, I had always wanted to make video clips, but I never encouraged myself, I didn’t feel ready. So I told him ‘I’ve never made a video clip, but we can try’”. From that moment, she did not stop.
Little by little, he began to fine-tune a method. “I never had a video clip class, I know that now people like Bernardo Quesney take classes. I think it’s because the video clip never felt like something you could dedicate yourself to. But to be super honest, I feel like I learned by doing it.” In any case, with the accumulated experience, she says that she is clear about what a good video should have. “A good visual concept. I think one remembers the video clips for some object, for some color, because it is the video clip of the train or whatever. I feel like that’s super important to have an impact.”
With the experience of alternating seasons of work between Chile and Mexico, since that trip in which she worked with Francisca Valenzuela and Mon Laferte, Camila Grandi says that she already notices the difference between the markets. “In Chile there is no music video industry, it doesn’t exist. What is invested in an artist here is much, much more than what is invested there, because we are a small country, because our population is small, because the labels do not have the same resources as the Mexican label. I would say that this is the most complex”.
To direct a video clip in the Aztec market, as in commercials, those interested in directing send their proposals to their potential clients, and they decide there. “In Chile that is still done, but not so much, in the end they call you directly. There are no more than 15 of us who make video clips, we even have a WhatsApp group -Camila says-. But here is the possibility of working with great artists. One time I was able to send a proposal to Danny Ocean, but I didn’t stay. I’m still happy, because that’s because I’m here and they get to know you”.
Once she closes a proposal to make a clip with an artist, Camila knows exactly what to do. “I listen to the song many times. I imagine an aesthetic, I feel that I link music to a color, so I imagine a palette before what I am going to do. That is strange because first comes what you are going to tell and then how. For example, I think ‘this song is green’, and from there I think about it and arrive at a concept”. Of course, she says that she works together with the artist in question. “We have Meet meetings, I ask them why they made the song and I jot down ideas. That’s how the concept comes out.”
Other times, creative partnerships are formed. This is what happened with Francisca Valenzuela, whom she met when she worked doing the making-off for the clip of floating. From there he developed specific projects, such as the video of Strength. Then the relationship grew closer and so they traveled together to Mexico, where they shared an apartment. In that period they worked on the videos to salu (in co-direction), Crystal castle Y Last Dance. “At first we were going to make a video clip but in the end there were three. Those two months were very creative, we talked at lunch, for example, who we were going to invite to the video of salu. That had to be a party, we found an events center, and we thought it was very cool. What Fran wanted was to include people close to her in Mexico, that’s why Benja Walker and Francis Durán came out.
During the pandemic he was also able to work with Denise Rosenthal. There she remembers the filming of Do not forget, in which they had to work with the fear of the possibility of contagion. “That was the first video I did with her. We were only three people, and I remember that I almost had to put on an astronaut suit. From there we have done things, the last thing was an acoustic when I went to Chile this year”. In addition, her acting baggage stands out. “He has incredible camera and stage management. She may be tired or sad, but they put the camera on her and she enters the character of one”.
This season, Camila Grandi got recognition for her work. Her work for Even if you’re dying to come backby Mon Laferte (recorded in Mexico in a strange house with a labyrinth in the garden), won the Videoclip of the Year award at the In-Edit Chile festival and also won the award for Best Latam Video at the Buenos Aires Music Video Festival. A path that for her has allowed her to consolidate. “That is one of my favorite jobs, and here I had more resources to do it. In Mexico, the video clip is profitable, there are people who live from this here -he adds- The other day I went to a production company that only made clips and it was huge”. Although when asked if he can make a living from it, he says that in his case he also records commercials. “But I try to keep it all about music,” she clarifies.
We would love to give thanks to the author of this article for this awesome content
The strong woman of the Chilean video clip – La Tercera