Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Natti Vogel has been tackling body image through the songs and accompanying music videos off his six-track offering, Serving Body, released this past January. “Each song on my record is about the ways we value or don’t value bodies, our own and others,” Vogel explained to Billboard.
Lyrics in his latest single, “Brown Rice,” were inspired by an article about Ryan Reynold on a “trashy entertainment site.” The lines “I eat only brown rice/ Just not after 8 p.m.” came to Vogel after he read that the Deadpool star was training for a movie by eating complex carbs, but only before an evening curfew.
“I just began to feel how much untapped emotional and psychic intensity there is behind body transformation,” the singer explained. “I’m coming from a place of having been a fat kid and our executive producer is coming from a place of having been a top male model. And yet a bunch of very different bodies seem to relate to this song, from my healthy fat friends to my thin friends who openly struggle with eating disorders. It makes me feel like I did something right.”
The video’s star may look familiar: It’s actor Matt Wilkas, who recently made headlines when he and his boyfriend, Olympics freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy, kissed during the Winter Games.
“Time spent with Matt Wilkas on set was dope,” said Vogel, adding that they talked about everything from astrology to “the ethereal magic of Joanna Newsom.” Vogel added that he had the privilege of introducing Wilkas to Cardi B’s music.
“Brown Rice” was written while Vogel was reflecting on a man he loved who couldn’t bring himself to commit to anyone. (“He still can’t, by the way.”) A teenager at the time, Vogel took it personally. “I just turned myself into a self-improvement machine, not to get revenge but to make myself retroactively worthy of him in my own mind.”
Check out the NSFW video for “Brown Rice” below.