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Nari – Photo courtesy of Park The Van Records
Nari is the musical moniker of Narisa Khamvanthong who was born and raised in the Bay Area of California. She always enjoyed the music scene there, but never thought she’d be getting into the music business herself. As she started getting more familiar with the bands and artists in her community, she finally decided to pick up the guitar and write her own songs.
More recently, while away at school in Lexington, Kentucky, she started writing songs and uploading them to Soundcloud. The reactions from her friends, musical peers, and complete strangers was extremely positive and lead to a collaboration with Nashville’s Okey Dokey and more discovery from fans around the country.
Nari’s latest single, “Julia”, out now via Park The Van Records, is a sweet ode to friendship. In the storytelling video Nari pines for her best friend named Julia. Cohorts and confidantes who are now separated by the everyday pathways of life (moving away, pursuing other endeavors, building other relationships), they still keep the line of friendship open, no matter where life takes them over the years.
“Julia” is a laid-back retro-vibed indie pop song running on light reverb guitar, deep bass line, occasional glowing organ note, and slowly clacking beat. On top of this mix Nari’s vocals gently float with warm, reminiscing wistfulness.
In the narrative video, Nari broods in her bedroom that’s decorated in pink and rose hues. She cuddles with her cat and pores through a photo album that features images of herself with her pal Julia.
She spins a pink vinyl record on the player, getting lost in memories that appear as flashbacks on the screen. Fun times with the pair at the boardwalk and shore go by, as Nari ruefully sighs.
Eventually Nari collects herself and gets ready for a house show, making posters and preparing for the gig. Swaying to the casual beat, a slightly forlorn Nari strums her guitar and sings in front of the crowd – until an unexpected guest arrives…
Nari offers some details about the backstory of this song, revealing, “‘Julia’” is a song about my best friend, Julia Tamaoki. We met in middle school growing up in the East Bay. She’s always been so supportive of me and anything I do, especially the music thing.”
“We now live pretty far from each other due to college but we visit each other frequently. I was excited we got to shoot the video together in Los Angeles. I even got my friend Marshall McKeever to direct it! He did a beautiful job with everything and everyone on the team was amazing and treated me like a princess (very strange but in a good way). This is supposed to be my ode to Julia, for being there for me even though we don’t live very close and we only see each other eve try few months. I’m always missing her and I’m sure soon we’ll both be in the same place.”
About the video, its director Marshall McKeever comments, “With this music video, I wanted to make the viewer feel nostalgic just how Nari feels nostalgic about her best friend Julia. To do this, I wanted the image to feel really dreamy, which we did using lens filters, and I wanted to incorporate things that would make people feel nostalgic, such as writing with a crayon, looking through a view master, and watching VHS footage. I owe a lot to my DP Mitch Storey and production designer Maleah Goldberg for doing such amazing work.”
“Even though we had quite a small budget, we all managed to scrape together enough favors to get everything we needed, and I’m especially lucky for my friend Remy letting us film at her house, which already perfectly matched the video since it was painted pink and had pink decorations in the bedroom. Making this video was so much fun and it was an honor getting to work with Nari.”