Shawn Colvin is drawing on the work of a beloved children’s book illustrator for her latest visual.
“Minnie and Winnie,” the second clip from the upcoming children’s album The Starlighter — premiering exclusively below — follows the title track’s stylistic mold of cut-out animation a la Maurice Sendak’s drawings in the book Lullabies and Night Songs, a 1965 music book that inspired the new album as well as Colvin’s 1998 album Holiday Songs and Lullabies. “It’s very different,” Colvin tells Billboard about the U.K./U.S. motion design studio WeFail’s approach to the videos, which she was exposed to via WeFail’s previous work for good pal Bob Schneider. “It’s not cartoons. It’s not animated drawings. It’s manipulated drawings, and without being Claymation. I just thought it was beautiful.”
Colvin anticipates doing videos for up to 8 of the album’s 14 tracks, all using the marionette-style theater depicted in the first two clips with Colvin singing and playing guitar among the images.
“It’s kind of a throwback in time,” she says. “It’s like the illustrations in the book, but not copying them. I wanted a lot of color and for it to be rich and beautiful. This will give children a chance to have a visual reference to the pictures they might be seeing in their head as they listen to the songs.”
Returning to the Lullabies and Night Songs book was a special opportunity for Colvin. “It was really my first exposure to this kind of music,” recalls Colvin, who releases The Starlighter on Feb. 23 (pre-order here). “It came out in ’65; That’s about when it was given to me by my parents. I took piano since I was six, and the arrangements (by Alec Wilder in the book) were sophisticated and moving, yet simple enough for me to pick out, and they’re beautiful. It’s like modern classical music — incredible voicings, kind of Coplandesque. I didn’t know anything about that, but I just knew it was different and evocative and gorgeous.”
Colvin says the book is “chock full” of more songs she may record at some point in the future. Meanwhile, she has a Valentine’s Day show at City Winery in New York and will be hitting the road for an acoustic tour with Lyle Lovett starting March 1. And she and regular collaborator John Leventhal have started working on a new album — her first since 2016’s Colvin & Earle and first of her own since 2015’s Uncovered — for 2019 release as well as a theater project Colvin says she “can’t really describe.” She’s also hoping to take her A Few Small Repairs tour, celebrating her platinum 1996 album, to the U.K. during the summer.