Elijah Blake Pays Homage to Prince, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson & More in 'Technicolor' Video: Premiere
After penning hits behind the scenes for a myriad of artists including Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Usher and Keyshia Cole, Elijah Blake is moving to center stage with his newly released sophomore album Audiology, a confluence of sounds reminiscent of music’s timeless eras led by the disco-tinged “Technicolor.” Today (Sept. 27), Blake premieres his new video for “Technicolor,” where he salutes a slew of iconic visuals from the '80s from Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation” to Bobby Brown’s “Every Little Step” and Prince’s “When Doves Cry.”
In the beginning of the video, Blake enters a dark underground studio, turns on the light and grabs a denim jacket hanging on a coat stand just as Janet Jackson did in her “Pleasure Principle” video. Recreating Janet’s classic vid, Blake dons a black statement shirt as well that reads, “a black shirt by clara martin” and begins to unleash his choreography to the nostalgic uptempo tune.
As the song hits the pre-chorus, the clip cuts to black and white and finds Blake and a phalanx of dancers clad in military-style uniforms -- he also wears the hoop earring with a key as Janet did -- as they pay tribute to Janet’s innovative “Rhythm Nation” visual.
"Conversation lead to touchin,’ now we feelin’ a buzz/ Tryna pretend that you wasn’t, I can tell that you was/ Because you spilled red Belvedere/ All over your black dress Chanel," he sings while performing Jackson's intricate, high-octane dance moves ending with the "Rhythm Nation" finger countdown.
The “Stingy” crooner recruited Beyonce’s choreographer Chris Grant – whom he’s known since high school -- to recreate the choreography for all the classic dance visuals including New Edition’s “If It Isn’t Love,” MC Hammer’s “You Can’t Touch This,” and Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel,” a process Grant says only took 2 weeks to put together.
Blake revealed that he came up with the idea for the video long before “Technicolor” was written and after explaining his plans for the video to Grant, the singer/songwriter enlisted his go-to collaborator, Sean Alexander, to fully execute his “twisted yet over ambitious” ideas.
“The vision for this video started with Elijah really wanting to bring back that 'feel good' vibe from the 80's, and to pay homage to the legends that had the biggest influence on his career as an artist,” Alexander tells Billboard. The video for “Technicolor” took two days to complete, despite experiencing minor hiccups with shoot locations and the large cast.
“It was so important for me to pay homage to these icons in this day and age because first and foremost, even though I'm a '90s baby, these videos and legends are who inspired me to even want to do music,” Blake explains. “Secondly, the art of dance being a major component in videos is almost like a lost art sadly. I don't know if it's because everyone is too cool to dance or if it's just too expensive, but I really wanted to tap into that magic and reintroduce it to my generation and this culture.”
Revisit some of music’s iconic visuals in Elijah Blake’s “Technicolor” video below.