McKenna Michels Releases Compelling Video for “Born To Die”
Singer, songwriter, and vivid storyteller, McKenna Michels, shares a new melody of fearless, complex pop music. “Born To Die” debuted at #25 on the AC charts, along with a beautifully crafted music video that was directed by Nick Peterson.
Mesmerising vocals, piano melodies, and soul-baring lyrics make up that of this rising musician, along with a unique sense of taste and a love of all things dramaticism and 18th century inspired fashion. Through intimate performances & lush, sophisticated recordings, she shares vulnerable stories about her personal journey through heartbreak, abuse, hope, love, longing, and rediscovering the beauty of human connection. Her resilience only further affirms her mission to provide a safe and comforting space for those struggling in silence. A dynamic vocalist with an extraordinary range, McKenna surrenders to every note. Her passionate voice simmers with ingredients from pop, R&B & rock as she pulls others into her world.
McKenna’s LP Enlightenment released on June 24th. The 11-track album was produced by Muq, engineered by Matt Meli (The Departed, Gary Clark, Jr.), mixed by multi-Grammy-nominated Jason Agel (Beyoncé, Kelly Clarkson, Prince, John Legend) and mastered by Joe Lambert (The National, Sharon Van Etten).
And here we witness the greatness of the creation of “Born To Die,” quickly penned on paper in a matter of ten minutes. Hear more about the process below, in Michels’ own words:
I was right in the middle of working on my new album and wound up watching ‘Chicago’ really late one night. I had just listened to ‘Cell Block Tango’ where they sing ‘he had it comin’ and it’s 4am when our minds are maybe not in their most rational state and out pops these lyrics. I wrote the song in 10 minutes.
The music video plays like a short film, a mischievous and macabre period piece inspired by “Chicago” and 18th century witch trials. Right from the moment we started recording the track, I knew I wanted to set it to visuals that told the story of a witch trial – I’m obsessed with that time period. So we settled on building a short film around the fate of a woman who was condemned to die at the very tail end of the witch trial era…there is a hanging scene that’s a nod to ‘The Crucible,’ the classic ‘burning the witch at the stake’ and more. But it fails every time – she just won’t die.
The gallows humor of “Born to Die” also underscores a serious message. The film is really about domestic abuse and tells the story about women who aren’t believed. The male character lies and society believes him. But in the end, they may think she’s dead but she’s alive. My message is for people to never give up because there is life at the end, no matter how many people it feels like are against you or don’t believe you.
~ McKenna Michels
Michels turned to director Nick Peterson to develop her concept, direct and produce the short film/video concept. Nick Peterson graduated from the Experimental Animation program at CalArts, producing visual effects for a number of years before transitioning into full time directing. Peterson’s films have been screened in festivals such as Sundance and SXSW. His award-winning music videos (Jhene Aiko, Wiz Khalifa, Evanesence) have garnered over 500 hundred million views.
“Born to Die” is the latest single off of Michels’ new album, Enlightenment, available now on all major streaming services.