Temporary Light

Eugene songwriter Halie Loren lands an Emmy for her music video “Noah”

To her growing list of awards and accomplishments, Eugene singer/songwriter Halie Loren can now add an Emmy.

Loren recently garnered a “Best Music Video” Emmy (Southwest Chapter) for the song “Noah,” which might be described as a bittersweet metaphysical lullaby with apocalyptic overtones from her groundbreaking 2018 release From the Wild Sky, the first Loren album to feature all original compositions.

The video, directed by Thang Ho and featuring an interpretive performance by dancer Kaylee “Impavido” Millis, was filmed in Atlanta at The Goat Farm. In it, Millis — a finalist on the hit show So You Think You Can Dance — moves with lonely grace among the ruins of a building, seeking connection amid a lanscape of fragility and loss.

The visuals of the video, all shadows and muted light, echo the song’s layered themes of seeking for connection through devastation, best exemplified in Loren’s lyrics: “We’re just stowaways on a ship the size of the world/ We are temporary light/ shining in the deep wild sky.”

Loren says she met Ho in 2015 on a flight from Europe when the two were bumped, serendipitously, to business class. A student filmmaker at Savannah College of Art and Design, Ho expressed interest in Loren’s music, and they began an exchange of ideas that led to the decision to make a music video.

For Loren, it was the gorgeous cinematography and attention to lighting and abstract symbolism in Ho’s work that convinced her a collaboration would be promising. “It was all the things that I’d really been hoping for,” she says, “so I thought it would be a really good fit.”

Indeed, the music video is at once sumptuous and heartbreaking, a solitary love letter urging a difficult hope in a fallen world. The song itself represents an evolution and maturation in Loren’s songwriting, capturing the complex feelings of impermanence and loss that utterly resist easy solutions or resolutions. It wasn’t until she’d finished writing it that Loren realized the complicated and layered reverberations it contains, including a nod to the biblical story of Noah.

Loren says the further away she gets from the actual process of making the video, “the more I can see it through new eyes, and the more I can be swept away by it.”

Whether speaking to personal loss, social alienation or ecological devastation, the song — and the music video, with its scenes of urban decay, forgotten artifacts and flood tides — extends a tenuous lifeline through the tragedies of life. It offers an embattled form of healing and hope, symbolized for Loren in the image of nature reclaiming the ruins of an old building.

“The emotional center of the song is really palpable,” she says, “and it stirs something I can’t really explain.” 

You can watch the music video for Halie Loren’s song “Noah” at halieloren.com.

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