Just in time for the long-awaited clearing of the smoke that has ravaged the Pacific Northwest for...how long has it been?..weeks??...Portland R&B/soul songstress Moorea Masa is unveiling a pastel-hued video bathed in sunshine to let us bask in the glory of the day-star’s return until its inevitable departure for at least 9 months. [Cue Seasonal Depression from stage left.]
“Honey,” which comes out digitally this Friday, Sept. 25th but is available in video form via KEXP today, is Masa’s first single since her 2018 debut album Shine A Light. The last 12 months have been a wild ride for Masa. Last spring she was on tour with The Dip when she was injured by a drunken fan scaling the barrier, knocking the mic into her face and causing a severe concussion. The injury led to cancelled tours and festivals, creating a huge financial and mental barrier for Masa on her road back to performing live.
During that nine or so months she was recovering, Masa worked on writing new music. After the murder of George Floyd, she pivoted from focus from music to social justice. From cooking for protesters to creating living protest art out of flowers, Masa engrossed herself in helping others in her Portland community. Finally, she’s ready to unveil new music.
The video for “Honey” sees Masa decked out in a bright colored wardrobe, as she coquettishly revels in food, flowers, and fashion on a superbly sunny afternoon. Not even bees can bother this golden goddess on such a luxurious and leisurely day! The song itself sounds just as ambrosial as the title suggests, with Masa cooing syrupy sweet promises of bathing someone in the nectar of the bees over a languorous bassline and softly tempered drums.
But, while the video may appear to convey a message of sensual devotion, the truth of the song is in the lyrics. “It don’t take much to make me happy/ I’m not asking for a lot/ I’m just trying to set these boundaries/ But you keep running after me when all I need is sorry.” Honey, in this case, is the proverbial bandaid in a toxic relationship where one person is doing everything they can to ease the discomforts just to make it through another day.
According to Masa, the song was written about her mother, a Black queer woman born in Germany and adopted by a white family, who has struggled with mental illness most of her life. “In recent years it has gotten so bad I've had to completely distance myself from her for my own physical and mental safety,” explains Masa.
“The song outlines the bitter truth of unconditionally loving someone who insists on painfully stinging back at you no matter how sweet your affections,” she continues. “Since beginning quarantine in March, I have felt terminally uninspired, yet with the amazing crew of my best friends who worked on this video, I have returned to creative life. The production team share a background rich with the experience of living in BIPOC, Queer, and immigrant communities. Additionally, the director has recently lost her mother (who also struggled with mental illness). The process of us collaborating vulnerably and lifting each other up in our creative roles has been deeply inspiring and healing.”
The single’s release on Sept. 25th is accompanied by a live stream event hosted by Musicians in Solidarity, and is raising money for Radical Rest, a week long event in which therapists and healers of many practices donate their services to the BIPOC community. The money they raise will go towards paying for BIPOC practitioners.
“This is something I care so deeply about,” explains Masa. “Because I wonder if my mom would be in such a tragic position if she had been afforded these same wellness resources.”
Watch the video for “Honey” below and pre-save the song ahead of its arrival on digital streaming platforms this Friday, September 25th.
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