#Watchlist: Ademola Falomo On Directing Tems’ “Try Me”

November 8, 2019

For creators, inspiration can be found in the most unexpected places. That’s why we created #Watchlist — a series that asks Nigerian video directors to list the most interesting things that influenced their creative choices while shooting.


Tems is easily one of 2019’s most original breakout stars. Her anthemic third single, “Try Me” has been readily embraced by a wide audience, and its Ademola Falomo-directed clip, which also happens to Tems’ first-ever music video, has been a big part of that success.

So, as the video nears a million views on YouTube, we decided to sit with Falomo and have him break down everything that influenced his work on it — from 2002’s Oscar-nominated crime film, City of Gods, to the cover art of Tems’ previous single, “Looku Looku”.

On main inspiration:

The song itself was a major inspiration for the video. The synth, kicks and melody. The first time Tems played it for me, I had goosebumps. There was this unexplainable rage I felt, as we sat in the conference room listening to what sounded to me like the most emotional song I’d ever heard.

I remember I had a mental image of someone climbing to the top of a mountain seeking redemption. At that moment, I knew my mission would be to get to the bottom of that emotion and translate it to the audience in the most beautiful way possible.

On intended narrative:

Leaning on the strong themes of boldness and rebellion in the song, we built a narrative around misfits getting liberated from the bonds placed on them by society. We ultimately wanted to make a video for the people that don’t see themselves represented enough in popular media.

For us, these people were the ones that society looks down on because of certain physical features or lifestyle choices. We also wanted to comment on the oppression of women in our society and how powerful they are regardless.

On Tems’ input:

At our initial meeting, Tems spoke about what the song meant to her and her vision for the video, which included a scene with bound people entering into a truck and a scene with her performing in a room with women. So, I built on those ideas, weaving them with mine.

On visual references:

I wanted something raw and dark, based of off my initial feeling, so I picked inspiration from music videos, ads and my love for European cinema. I loved the energy of Rosalia’s “De Aqui No Sales” music video, and that informed the general vibe I wanted for “Try Me”.

For the chase sequence, I was inspired by the scene in City of God, where the tender trio stole from the gas truck driver. It thoroughly represented the pace I wanted for the biker scene, from the pace right down top the minimal shots.

The shots and cinematography in the living room scene were intentionally different. We were trying to represent women in the best way possible, and we wanted you to feel their visual presence. For that, I was inspired by the way the women were represented in the video for Blick Bassy’s “Woñi”.

Rosalia — “De Aqui No Sales”

‘City of God’ (2002)

Blick Bassy — “Woñi”

On casting:

For casting, we made a list of what features we wanted to represent and went ahead to find not just people with those features, but the ones who have been involved in some form of activism surrounding it. Our hope was that the video would better serve to amplify their cause.

On styling:

In terms of styling, we knew early on that we wanted to work with Daniel Obasi. So, we briefed him on our vision, and he pitched great ideas on how he’d approach it. We wanted looks that would complement whatever emotions the cast would express, rather than distract from it.

Since the video already had a dark tone, we just made them wear dark colours to compliment that. Interestingly, the ‘X’ printed behind the captor’s jacket was a spontaneous idea by anti.design, and I felt it worked for the narrative. So, I had the leader of the ‘bad boys’ wear the same jacket as well.

On the oddest influence:

Tems, definitely. In my treatment to her, I stated how I felt she had a dark/ energetic side to her personality. I had seen this from being in a meeting with her and the artwork for her song, “Looku Looku”, and I wanted people to see it too. I wanted people to understand that, yeah, she makes all these vulnerable songs, but she could be really dark if she wanted to.

NerdEfiko

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

October 18, 2019

Nonso Amadi — “What Makes You Sure?” While they never really break the mould, Nonso Amadi’s music videos are always, at the very least, gorgeously shot and narratively cohesive. For his latest effort, “What Makes You Sure?”, he ups the game with even more vibrant cinematography and a compelling side story. The Seyi Akinlade-directed video […]

November 22, 2019

Sarz and WurlD recently dropped a fantastic joint EP, I LOVE GIRLS WITH TROBUL — a project about love and messy relationships. Prior to its release, the duo unveiled a fitting video for standout track, “EGO”. The Chukwuka Nwobi-directed clip, which follows a couple post-breakup, perfectly captures one of the project’s core themes. So, we […]

October 18, 2019

Sometime in the near future, people will look back at 2019 and wonder how we paid so little attention to Ladipoe’s “Jaiye”. One of the best written and produced songs of the year, accompanied by a near-perfect music video, it’s downright criminal that this boisterous anthem isn’t a bigger hit. That being said, it’s a little […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

July 31, 2021

Sex Life is an anonymous Zikoko weekly series that explores the pleasures, frustrations and excitement of sex in the lives of Nigerians. TW: Sexual Abuse. The subject of today’s Sex Life is a 28-year-old heterosexual woman who talks about hating condoms and how all that changed after an STD and two pregnancies.   What was your […]

July 31, 2021

Truth or Dare can be a fun game to play whether you’re hanging in with friends or you’re playing drinking games. However, it can get old really quick if you don’t have the right questions or dare. So we put together a couple of truth or dare questions to ask a guy at the next […]

July 30, 2021

We know salary week is your favourite time of the month. But will that money get you through the month until the next paycheck comes in? Let’s see. 1. You get paid on the 25th of the month Why is this a problem? You will lose your guard. You too, stop and think about it: money […]

July 30, 2021

Like every other thing that comes from Nigeria, your international passport just wants to travel out, enjoy life and flex on the gram but you no get money. *insert clown emoji* So here is everything your international passport wants to say to you. It’s another frustrating day in Buhari’s country. Rain water has entered your […]

Recommended Quizzes

April 9, 2020

At some point in life, we all learnt that someone can be very intelligent and still lack common sense. That’s the difference between being book smart and being street smart. If you’re not sure where on the spectrum you fall, well, that’s what this quiz is here to tell you. Take it:

November 25, 2019

We already guessed how many people you’ve slept with, and y’all were out here denying the truth. Anyway, we won’t hold that against you. This time, however, we’ve created a quiz that predicts who you’ll sleep with next — so you can either prepare or try (unsuccessfully) to prevent it. So, take and see:

April 14, 2020

Every friend group consists of very different and specific characters — from the parent to the fun one — and it can be a little tough figuring out where you fall. So, we’ve created a quiz that lets you know exactly what kind of friend you are. Take to find out:

June 14, 2020

Have you ever been with someone so horrible that you swore to never date again? Yes? Well, do you know that one or more of your exes probably feels the same way about you? You never thought about that, huh? Thankfully, this quiz is here to let you know just how much of a hassle […]

More from #Watchlist

February 5, 2021

Last year, Netflix finally and officially came to Nigeria. This means they opened a social media account dedicated to Nigerian content on their streaming service and increased their Nigerian content on the service as well as commissioned more Netflix Originals to be made. However, the sheer number of movies and shows on Netflix are overwhelming […]

November 29, 2019

The most essential Nigerian star of the past two years, Burna Boy kicked off 2019 with the clip for his Zlatan-assisted gem, “Killin Dem”. While the song actually dropped in 2018, the dynamic video helped turn the banger into one of the year’s biggest hits. So, as the video just crossed 20 million views on […]

November 22, 2019

Sarz and WurlD recently dropped a fantastic joint EP, I LOVE GIRLS WITH TROBUL — a project about love and messy relationships. Prior to its release, the duo unveiled a fitting video for standout track, “EGO”. The Chukwuka Nwobi-directed clip, which follows a couple post-breakup, perfectly captures one of the project’s core themes. So, we […]

November 15, 2019

After a few 2019 songs that didn’t really take off, Teni finally landed another major hit with her aspirational banger, “Billionaire”. Now, she’s dropped a video for the single, and thanks to the vision of one of the year’s busiest directors, TG Omori, it’s easily her best one to date. The video has already amassed […]

November 8, 2019

Tems is easily one of 2019’s most original breakout stars. Her anthemic third single, “Try Me” has been readily embraced by a wide audience, and its Ademola Falomo-directed clip, which also happens to Tems’ first-ever music video, has been a big part of that success. So, as the video nears a million views on YouTube, […]

October 25, 2019

Following her game-changing record deal with Universal Music Group, Tiwa Savage came out with her first single of 2019, the Fela-inspired “49-99”. As great as the song was, the Meji Alabi-directed video that accompanied it was even better. So, as Tiwa recently visited Genius to explain the track’s meaningful lyrics, we at Zikoko decided to […]

October 18, 2019

Nonso Amadi — “What Makes You Sure?” While they never really break the mould, Nonso Amadi’s music videos are always, at the very least, gorgeously shot and narratively cohesive. For his latest effort, “What Makes You Sure?”, he ups the game with even more vibrant cinematography and a compelling side story. The Seyi Akinlade-directed video […]

October 18, 2019

Sometime in the near future, people will look back at 2019 and wonder how we paid so little attention to Ladipoe’s “Jaiye”. One of the best written and produced songs of the year, accompanied by a near-perfect music video, it’s downright criminal that this boisterous anthem isn’t a bigger hit. That being said, it’s a little […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X