Boston-based singer, songwriter, and electric violinist Josh Knowles recently called on some friends to create a music video for his debut single “Same.” Those friends just happen to work with Boston Ballet.
“I was just cooking breakfast one morning and I got that kind of flash of two dancers silhouetted against this big white backdrop,” he remembered. “It’s a real luxury to just be able to pick up the phone and text some friends and be like, ‘Hey, do you think this is a good idea? Would you want to help out with that?’ It’s a really special thing that one of those flash-in-the-pan ideas … gets to come to fruition.”
For four minutes and 20 seconds, the video sees the bodies of principal dancers Lia Cirio and Paul Craig swirl in fluid and percussive movement to Knowles’s instrumentation and vocals.
In addition to the performers, he tapped others involved with the company, namely videographer Ernesto Galan and choreographer Yury Yanowsky, a former Boston Ballet principal dancer.
“[Yanowksy] had always told me he wanted to choreograph to one of my songs,” Knowles said. “We kind of mutually all jumped at this at this opportunity.”
The Berklee-trained musician met his current collaborators five years ago when he partnered with the dance company on “Cacti,” a production which places a quartet on stage with the ballet. The experience confirmed how much he enjoyed partnering with the tangential art form.
“Everybody is totally at the top of their game. It’s a really gratifying artistic experience to work with people who are mutually passionate and accomplished at their craft,” Knowles said. “To me, it seems like a no-brainer to just consistently stay involved in projects with such talented people.”
Once he had his team assembled, however, he let them run with the visuals. Knowles didn’t see the full choreography until the night of filming at Koltun Ballet in Watertown.
“I knew I trusted that whatever [Yanowsky] was going to do was gonna be amazing. And however [Cirio] and [Craig] performed it was gonna be amazing,” he said. “It was really kind of a beautiful surprise to just see how this had panned out and somebody had a different way of expressing the sentiment of the song.”