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Spree Wilson shoots ‘Counterfeit’ video in Brooklyn, talks inspirations

photo courtesy of SPREE WILSON
photo courtesy of SPREE WILSON

Spree Wilson is enjoying the ride. The Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter has seen his art take him from humble beginnings in Nashville, Tennessee to playing to adoring fans everywhere from New York City to Amsterdam. But hits like “The Spark” with AfroJack and “Right Place, Wrong Time” are just moments for the ever-evolving artist; he’s not at all content with staying in one place or reliving past successes. This weekend, Wilson directed the music video for his new single “Counterfeit” and discussed why, even after all he’s done, he’s adamant about pushing himself creatively.

Wilson wrote the song with Rebecca Jordan and the track was produced by Malay (Alicia Keys, Frank Ocean, Stacy Barthe); and he recorded the song after initially thinking he’d shop it to others. “The record is about the conflict within yourself,” Wilson shared. The song sat for a couple of years before Spree revisited it. This time around, he was inspired to polish it off and, after deciding he wanted to direct his own video for the song, added a striking set of visuals to complement the track.

The direct inspiration for the “Counterfeit” video was Robert Palmer’s classic clip for his 1986 hit “Addicted To Love.” Wilson and his team wanted to put their own spin on the famous video–which featured a suited Palmer performing with several emotionless, almost-identical models miming instruments around him. “The idea was making [the models] all black but also making them strong women and not so much [like] mannequins,” Spree says of what he wanted to accomplish with his version. “My idea was to take that concept and have all kinds of different black women.”

“These are girls that you would see every day in Brooklyn and they look amazing–they look beautiful,” he says. “They represent people who aren’t being represented visually. And representation is important.”

His creativity has always been inspired by artists who didn’t allow themselves to be pigeonholed by fans or critics. His music bears the hallmarks of everyone from the Beatles to Michael Jackson; and two eclectic artists in particular have pushed Wilson to always try new things.

“I think the first time I heard OutKast’s ATLiens was the moment I knew I wanted to do music. It was the first time I’d heard cool instrumentation in hip-hop, and it sounded so earthy,” he recalls. “It sounded alien-like.”

Spree also cites Sign O’ the Times and Prince’s influence as a major ongoing inspiration in his life and music.

“That was one that influenced me with so many different styles,” says Spree. “There were so many different styles on there: rock, pop, Joni Mitchell-type stuff, funk. Obviously, Prince is a genius, but that made me want to be a songwriter and write all kinds of different songs.”

The spirit of the music and video for “Counterfeit” is one of representation and a celebration of anyone  who’s embracing their own unique perspective and approach.

“You can still be cool and still be into the Beatles or Beck or the Talking Heads or Outkast or Three Six Mafia,” he says. “You can be who you are.That’s sort of what I represent in the video, too.”

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