Why Halsey, Ariana Grande & Kacey Musgraves All Trust Director Hannah Lux Davis

From left: Jennifer Coolidge, Davis and Grande on the set of the “Thank U, Next” music video.
Alfredo Flores

From left: Jennifer Coolidge, Davis and Grande on the set of the “Thank U, Next” music video.

Hannah Lux Davis will never forget watching the premiere of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” music video in her senior year of high school. “It was exciting to see an artist transform into different characters. It felt like a spectacle,” she says. She left her native Seattle that summer to pursue video directing in Los Angeles, where she worked on sets as a makeup artist until landing her first big pitch: a water-flooded bedroom scene for Lil Wayne’s “Love Me” with Drake and Future in 2013. These days, the 33-year-old is executing splashy clips for pop’s top tier, including Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato and frequent collaborator Ariana Grande, whose video for “7 Rings” made the biggest YouTube debut of 2019. Davis is also branching out into film, with a new docu-series on U.S. women’s soccer team superstar Alex Morgan. For Davis, it’s all about “What haven’t we done yet?”

Ciara, "Thinkin Bout You" 

Davis reunited with Ciara, whom she first worked with on 2013’s “I’m Out,” to create a Risky Business-inspired dance number choreographed by prolific dancer Brian Friedman. Shot inside a Los Angeles mansion meant to evoke a luxury hotel suite, the video follows Ciara as she gets ready for a date. To keep the romantic storyline authentic, the clip was shot with Ciara’s husband, Russell Wilson, in mind. “She’s still so giddy in love, and that really comes through” in the video, says Davis.

Halsey, "Nightmare" 

In the grungy visual for her rallying anthem, Halsey wanted scenes to hit on specific lyrics. In one clip, a woman pulls a measuring tape around her stomach as Halsey sings, “I wished I could cut some parts off with some scissors.” “It was about making sure people understood what the song meant,” says Davis. “That’s why the video jumps around the way that it does -- it’s showing the different sides of a woman.” Plus, Debbie Harry, Cara Delevingne and Suki Waterhouse all make cameos.

Kacey Musgraves, "Rainbow" 

After discussing the Golden Hour track’s hopeful message with Musgraves, Davis landed on a literal approach. In the video, rainbows arch over various struggling characters, including a single mother and a lonely older woman. “The song was so gentle, and I knew I wanted the visual to be,” says Davis. “It felt like a painting.” The video marks the pair’s second collaboration: Davis also directed the 1970s-themed clip for Musgraves’ “High Horse” in 2018.

This article originally appeared in the June 15 issue of Billboard.