“I think she’s the next Spielberg,” Buzzy Lee says of the director of her new video for “Sundown Queen,” premiering exclusively below. And she’s not wrong.
Buzzy, of course, is Sasha Spielberg, daughter of, yes, THAT Spielberg and an actress with roles in The Terminal, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Before I Sleep and more. And even though her main focus these days is on music and being Buzzy Lee, Spielberg keeps her hand in the “family business” as the main actress and co-director of the “Sundown Queen” clip, which also features Max Minghella from The Handmaid’s Tale and co-director Este Haim of Haim.
“The concept is I do these fake tutorials where I don’t know what I’m talking about but love it,” Spielberg explains. “‘Sundown’ is me making [a fake makeup tutorial] while my boyfriend is breaking up with me in the background. We shot the whole thing on an iPhone and just had a great time with it. I’m showing the world how, actually, I DON’T have it in my blood to direct, but it’s fun.”
“Sundown Queen” hails from the latest Buzzy Lee EP, Close Encounters of Their Own Kind, the first of a trilogy of songs Spielberg and producer Justin Raisen (John Cale, Kim Gordon) are creating as mash-ups with music by under-the-radar singer and songwriter Tommy Mandel and his 1979 album Mellow Magic. “Justin found Tommy Mandel; He did the deep dive and he was like, ‘I have to show you the craziest thing’,” Spielberg recalls. “He then put Tommy into a sample and played me a sample and I immediately started writing a melody over it. We said, ‘This is something really interesting.’ I told Justin, ‘Do not play me a single original song today. Let’s just do this. You cut up everything and I’ll come in we’ll write lyrics and record on the spot.’ The first melody that came into my head was always the one we used.
“It’s really unique — and really, really fun. I don’t want these EPs to end. (Mandel’s) sound is so interesting, I would love to keep writing melodies over his songs forever.”
The EP trilogy does have Mandel’s full blessing as well. “He seems really enthusiastic,” Spielberg reports. “He is a wonderful emailer — he uses rainbow font in his email. My dream would be to work with him in person, or work with him live. I’d love to see that happen, too.”
For now, however, Spielberg will be satisfied with the next two EPs, which are due out during the course of the year. She’s writing fully original songs as well, and she plans to keep Buzzy Lee prolific and, hopefully, operating on her own merits.
“I assume everyone is going to hate my music before listening to it or hate me before meeting me because of where I come from and my name — it’s not Smith or Taylor,” says Spielberg, who considered releasing music under the moniker Spielberg’s daughter. “It is such a battle for me as I grow as an artist, whether to truly own it (her name) or shy away from it and release more songs under a completely anonymous name. When I do that it does make me feel better, like it makes the music speak for itself. I’m kind of saying, ‘Listen to this. I know you’re probably going to want to hate everything I make, but please give it a chance. If you still hate it, then I’ll go back to acting.'”