Regina, SK, singer-songwriter Ryan Hicks is excited to premiere his latest music video here today for “Dream,” the title track from his outstanding album released just last year. It is no coincidence that during this time of self-isolation and social distancing, Ryan has selected one of his more intimate self-penned compositions that tells the story of two people separated by distance, yet with a love strong enough to withstand being apart. “Dream reminded me of our current situation and the parallel of distance from the places and people we love,” he shares. “I wanted to create dreamy visuals to accompany the words and music; a more surreal interpretation of the song to give the feel of being in a beautiful dream full of love and wonder.”
Spending some time in Southern California last year on a song-writing retreat to find inspirations for his next album, Ryan took time to capture some video footage of his travels to help document his writing process. Needing a distraction from the pandemonium surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Ryan revisited his personal footage, and with images of the ocean, the desert, and places travelled, sought refuge in his own recollections of California Dreaming and happier times. “I completed filming Dream by combining footage from California with [fresh] footage I filmed in my backyard this month in Regina,” he adds. “The music video, much like me, feels most at home in the landscapes of California and the Canadian prairies.”
Ryan’s original inspiration for “Dream” came from a local Cree legend of the Qu’Appelle Valley in Saskatchewan. Based on a poem written by E. Pauline Johnson, a tale is told of a young Indian who, whilst out on the river many miles from home, hears a voice. “Qu’Appelle” (“Who Calls”), he replies, but receives no answer, save his echo. “Upon his return home, he found that his bride-to-be had passed away,” Ryan adds. “The moment she passed was the same moment he heard her call to him from afar.”
With the theme of loved ones being separated as the core of “Dream,” Ryan’s fondness for the artistic talents of director David Lynch provided a visual narrative he was keen to adopt. “Dream [sequences] are a prominent theme is his work, especially in Twin Peaks or Mulholland Drive,” he explains. “I love how his visuals are highly stylized, and colours saturated to give a dreamy look.” With a return visit to California not possible at this time, Ryan challenged himself to create the video with the footage currently at his disposal. “I had to almost work backwards to create a story from the visuals I had,” he recalls. “The process of creating a story from my footage helped me during this last month, as I could escape reality and enter this idyllic California dream-world while crafting the music video.”
In addition to releasing this video, Ryan Hicks is also participating in an Earth Day concert later today, in support of a fundraising campaign for a Regina-based environmental initiative (http://www.envirocollective.ca). He will be debuting a ‘live from the studio’ version of another song, “Cloudburst,” for this concert, offering more visuals from time spent in the Qu’Appelle valley, and available to view from today on his YouTube channel.