Picture a visual sequence where a man sits pensively in his car, a couple fight wildly in bed and a woman reclines in front of a painting easel in a pool of her own blood. This may sound like the product of a Lynch and Fincher collaboration, but it’s in fact the brainchild of the sultry powerhouse Sevdaliza.
The Formula is the latest short film to expand on the artist’s sharp vision. Inspired simply by “life”, the captivating visual is a product of her organic creative process. “I don’t try to mould myself, I don’t want to settle in a form,” she explains. “I follow where my development takes me. In a way I am submissive to my creative rage. I give you my perceptions and experiences as a creator.”
It’s this creative fluidity that makes Sevdaliza difficult to categorise. The fuel for her gripping visual art is her visceral, intoxicating future pop, and there’s a sensuality to her voice which manages to sound both alluringly deep and effortlessly delicate. “When I sing I want it to feel physical, like it’s in your body,” Sevdaliza insists. “That’s how I feel, it’s in mine.” The profoundness to her stylistic approach could be traced back to her unique background. “I always feel this deeper kind of solitude, and a kind of continuous questioning,” says the Iranian-born singer, who grew up in the Netherlands. “Maybe that comes from the fact that I was lucky to grow up in extreme opposites in terms of culture, faith and society.”
As multifaceted as Sevdaliza’s artistry is, much of her work is the result of a collaborative effort. Since the beginning of her career, she has worked alongside the producer Mucky, who is partly responsible for the heavy bass and 80s haze that permeates her debut EP, The Suspended Kid. In regards to imagery, the Polish duo Pussykrew gave life to her hyperreal, futuristic vision for That Other Girl, while Emmanuel Adjei directed the aforementioned heart-wrenching short. Collaboration is a process that Sevdaliza doesn’t take lightly. “[It’s] about respect, trust and detachment,” she states. “Co- creation becomes of a certain value to me, based upon personal growth and meaning and bonding with the collaborator. This process is extremely interesting, even more so than the actual outcome.”
The contemplative way she approaches her art also applies to the way she constructs her look. With her distinctive mane of dark hair, relaxed style and numerous piercings, each one of her tattoos encompasses layers of meaning. “All of them are self-portraits drawn during an important mark in time,” she says. “They are my imprinted diary, every one shows a different face in a different time and space.” Laying her foundations in an era of convention-defying, binary- evading creativity, who knows what her next transformation will be.
Words: Lakeisha Goedluck
Photography: Vitali Gelwich
Styling: Christina Van Zon
The Formula is available to watch in full online