Swiss-Egyptian Not.Fay has just released the visuals to the very poignant ‘Drunk in Berlin’ mirroring grief, growth and journey towards healing and inner-peace. Only a handful of months following our initial quarantine conversation earlier this year, one of MENA/diaspora R&B’s fastest blooming artists opens up appearing vulnerable yet valiant while dirging over the painful loss of her father.
“He truly was my best friend and the closest person to me in my life,” she tells SceneNoise. “They say everybody deals with it differently, and it's true. I sing about denial and basically avoid thinking or talking about it because avoidance is easier than dealing and processing my feelings about it. From drinking to forget, to staying on the move because I've lost this sense of 'home', the song talks about feeling lost and constantly searching for something that I may never find until we're reunited. I mention how all I can really do is implement the lessons he's taught me and keep moving forward in his honour.”
The requiem, initially teased on Instagram a month ago, is part of an almost three-year long creative process channelling the associated fears and frights of confronting such matters onto a slow tempo beat.
“I honestly thought I’d never manage to finish writing the song let alone release it. I started writing it in 2018 and never found the strength to finish it until I saw the reaction and engagement it got on Instagram. I immediately got flooded with messages asking me to release it and from people sharing their own grief. After that I just thought that I had to. I must say that it really was the hardest recording session ever though.”
Heavy in feeling and meaning, ‘Drunk in Berlin’ reminisces a snapshot moment of being inhibited in the German capital whilst waiting for her flight back home. Throughout the song, Not.Fay invites listeners into an extremely intimate space that is still comfortable enough for us to empathise and share the burden of her pain by transposing her experience onto our very own. Coupled with the artist's mournful lyrics, she makes room for us to feel as if we’re listening to a close friend, offering her shoulder for us to sorrow on whilst our online support virtually becomes hers.
“I think that that time in Berlin was our first 'family holiday' after my dad had passed, and at the time I wasn't very close with family, it was very difficult as I felt a lot of anger and guilt. It kinda felt like I was betraying him for just being there.”
Finding strength in the song’s straightforward simplicity, the VHS-style video is a collection of first-hand affectionate memories the artist gracefully allows us to share with her. Introspective and personal without feeling like stalking, the singer, songwriter and composer also made sure to keep her hands on the wheel throughout the entire process of production rendering the hyper-personal song even more so.
“Visuals and artwork are all me. I wanted a music video for the song but for a few days I just couldn't seem to find the right concept, nothing felt right, like nothing would do the song justice. Then I remembered my mum kept videos from my childhood. I got them, watched everything and it just automatically clicked together.”