Moroccan-born, Montreal based singer-songwriter and visual artist Mehdi Bahmad has recently released the video for his debut single, "Rouge à Lèvres" (Lipstick). The song is a subdued electro-pop ballad, spiced up with hints of qanun. Bahmad's tender, fragile voice lilts in heavily accented English over the dramatic music, his lyrics punctuated by the repeated phrase "we are fighters," before he switches to French. The song is a meant to be an empowerment piece for gender role liberation.
The video, directed by Mehdi, depicts a young woman moving back in time, her face smeared with her own red lipstick, from the bed she has seemingly crashed in after a long night, through the bus she rode home solo late at night, to the party she had been at. The bacchanalian party, drenched in red light, and filled with mist and plants, is peopled with sensual characters, who cast their lustful gazes upon her, before (or after) she is embracing and kissing Mehdi, to whom she transfers her red lipstick. The final shot shows Mehdi with perfectly rouged lips.
More than being beautiful and seductive, the video is relatable to a generation in which gender fluidity is becoming more and more common, and a growing number of people are finding themselves somewhere in between the binary. Though it isn't in your face, the message is there.
Stay tuned for Mehdi Bahmad's debut EP, set to release in 2019.