Photo: Spencer Middleton
The word "sonder" has graced Tumblr feeds and Urban Dictionary for the majority of the 2010s. Whether a "real" word or not, it is described as "the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own." A thought we've all entertained at some point or another, this empathetic realization is the cornerstone of R&B artist, UMI's EP and visual companion for Introspection.
What began as a three-hour conversation in a bathroom with the films director and UMI’s friend, Jocelyn Woods, metamorphosed into a two-day retreat in Malibu, film treatment, script, and the rest is history. Filmed in Los Angeles and produced by Issa Rae's production company, Raedio, the film follows the story of five individuals and their various personal journeys through love, attraction, and heartbreak. Eloquently touching on important subjects such as the LGBTQ+ experience, the generational misalignment of values, and love gained then lost, each viewer can extract a piece of their story as the plot unfolds. Scored in the order of the EP, the 15-minute film is a highly personal experience, in UMI's own words,
"Introspection is a reflection of my journey inward. I've never been more honest in my expression of self, and I hope that it serves as a reminder that our highest healing and growth comes from within… The film is an extension of the music, creating a world for viewers to live in. The story is an apt visual metaphor for how interconnected life and our individual experiences really are. Unpacking themes of self-discovery, love, heartbreak, and family dynamics, Joce and I hope that people can find themselves in the film - that it can serve as a mirror inward."
Introspection marks the first EP release under UMI's collaboration with Keep Cool / RCA Records. A worthy testimony to her growth as songwriter, the EP is a conceptual and spiritual experience, with Easter eggs riddled throughout the collection, tying the 6-track EP in symbiotic bliss. Featuring those same slow-burning jams and breezy vocals that left us smitten with the 21-year-old Seattle-native to begin with, it is a true pleasure to join UMI on her dynamic artistic journey.
Check out the Introspection film below!