Singer-songwriter Van Plating went the spontaneous route when creating her newest music video, for her single “Bird on a Wire.” The clip, premiering exclusively on The Boot, captures both the golden hour of a summertime afternoon in Florida and the lyrics’ dreamy, pensive qualities.
“Usually when I create a visual for my work, there’s an inspo board and a storyline. It’s all mapped out well ahead of time and styled to the T,” Plating tells The Boot. “This one wasn’t.”
Instead, she and Bryan Elijah Smith headed to Seven Wetlands, a park just south of Plating’s Lakeland, Fla., home, which is also featured in the music video. The pair had written the “Bird on a Wire” “in the golden hours of a Florida afternoon,” Plating recounts — after developing a friendship over Instagram, in fact — and the visual “really captures that light that you only see in Florida at certain times of the year (in this case, hurricane season).”
“It was early August, the first week that outdoor spaces were reopened after the statewide lockdown, and I thought it would be pretty unpopulated and quiet,” Plating shares. “But there we were, shooting a music video while families played rounds of frisbee golf in the woods around us [and] men sat drinking beer by their coolers.”
Plating and Smith co-wrote “Bird on a Wire” in January, before the novel coronavirus was declared a global pandemic and shut down much of the United States for most of 2020. The song’s protagonist “ponders the nature of love in a hard season of life,” but Plating admits she “had no idea how much harder life was going to get.”
“The lyrics of the refrain have become a mantra since then: ‘Oh, my love, let it go,’” she reflects. “There’s so much ephemera that I desperately needed to let go of so I could be freed to hold more closely to the good, life-giving stuff …
“Quarantine took away the busy-ness, took away opportunities I’d worked very hard to get, shattered some cherished dreams, for sure,” Plating continues. But, she adds, “I’m blessed to be able to say 2020 has left me bruised and a bit beaten down, yes, but I’m still standing tall as I can with a very few key relationships to love on and a wealth of time to hone my craft — for which I am ultimately grateful. It’s also left me with a very low tolerance for wearing real pants.”
“Bird on a Wire” is one in a series of singles Plating created following the release of her 2019 self-titled project, which arrived after a nearly decade-long musical hiatus. The Florida Southern College graduate who studied violin and voice was in an indie rock band in her 20s, but after the group broke up, she opted for what she thought would be a short break — which turned into a long one.
“The album I put out last year really helped me find my way,” Plating reflects. “Now I feel like I don’t need anybody else to tell me or help me kind of uncover who I am anymore; I know that I’m a strong singer and a strong songwriter. That record taught me who I am.”