At a time when so many of us need a break from reality, queer artists are stepping up to the plate and answering society’s sonic needs. Among the best young queer talents out there is Mila Jam, a rising singer-songwriter whose new music video for “Eye On You” (premiering below) is giving us all a break from summertime sadness.
Jam has successfully become a staple of the modern queer music scene while still maintaining her status as an avid trans activist, often using her songs and videos to spotlight LGBTQ issues. Her recent participation in the #StopKillingUs campaign — which aims to raise awareness for murdered trans victims and features Jam naked but for body paint, facing the camera in various, often public, situations — is resonating with the Internet, with thousands of likes, shares, and reposts on social and traditional media platforms.
But “Eye on You” sees the 30-year-old singer reveling in the more joyous side of being queer. “I wanna know, if I say hello, where this could go / I’ve got my eye, eye, eye, on you!” Jam coyly sings to her beau, played by model and fellow queer activist Yves. Directed by Omri Anghel, Nico Larsson, and Jam herself, the video shows Jam dancing in a sunlit NYC apartment, flipping her hair ecstatically to the beat, then standing naked, Birth of Venus-style, in front of a wall of white and pink roses with a thorny crown of flowers.
Jam jumps in and out of a host of looks, donning an Erykah Badu-inspired power suit and top hat, which is then replaced by a billowing white chemise gown. Jam has never looked happier or sung more comfortably than she does here, and “Eye On You” proves to be pure end-of-summer romanticism.
Billboard spoke with Jam about the single and music video, her inspirations, and her thoughts on dating as a queer person right now.
What are your inspirations behind “Eye On You”?
The vibe is very 80’s synth pop goodness. It’s all about the beautiful people who take us out of our reality for a minute and get us wrapped up in the fantasy of what it would be like to be together. The visuals are inspired by Beyoncé and Jay-Z at the Louvre: the beauty and power of an untouchable, influential couple. It’s such a fantasy, being on static display and entertaining other people’s desires of coupledom.
“Eye On You” is an uplifting, decidedly “pop” pop song — is this your new direction?
Well, I love pop music, but I love all music. All music matters! Life has many different directions, and with music, I’m letting life lead. So that direction right now is pop!
How did you get Yves involved in the video?
Yves is one of the most beautiful humans and a dear friend. We’ve actually been planning to collaborate on a project for over a year and it was just timing and availability. He inspires me. He inspires the whole community. Yves, we’ve all got our eye on you!
Artists like yourself are slowly but surely changing attitudes towards queer talent. Would you say this video helps normalize another section of LGBTQ+ relationships?
If you notice, nothing goes wrong in this video. The relationship onscreen is all about beauty and support, exactly what every trans woman deserves, what everyone in the community deserves. I think it gives people hope. But know that I’m hoping just as much as you are.
I’ve noticed that your latest videos often have a lot to do with navigating relationships. Can you tell us a bit about your experiences dating as an LGBTQ person?
How much time we got?
Dating as a self-aware, fully realized woman that happens to also be trans is multi-layered. I’m dodging fetishizations, ignorance, time-wasters, insecure behavior, ghosting, and so much more. Everyone deals with those things somewhere along the way, but just imagine all at once. Meanwhile, the collective narrative accepts that I should be killed for existing. Men that want to be progressive and accepting hide behind texts, and many men that step up are dealing with unassisted trauma, masking shame with substances and self-damaging behaviors.
So… it’s going great! It’s honestly very complex, to say the least… but what isn’t complex is desire. The desires of girls like us will always loom, and hopefully move more and more into the light!