Adele showed a different side of herself – or several different sides of herself, to be specific – in the new music video for “Send My Love (To Your New Lover),” released Sunday during the Billboard Music Awards. The clip features multiple shots of the “Hello” singer performing the new single layered on top of one another.
“There really isn’t any editing in the video,” director Patrick Daughters tells EW. “But in a way, as you watch the video many times, you start to make your own edits because you focus on different layers of her performance. That’s something we built into the idea, that there’s a lot of different versions of this video to see but they’re all there at the same time.”
Below, Daughters explains his initial pitch for the video, the medical-related obstacle he had to get through the day of the shoot, and how great Adele really is in person (spoiler: pretty great).
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was your initial pitch to Adele?
PATRICK DAUGHTERS: This would be something quite simple. We’d really focus on her performance. It related to one of the lines in the song actually, the line about letting go of her ghosts. This was a riff on that idea, the idea being that there would be different takes of hers that might be coming from slightly different places in terms of her emotions and her performance and we would be layering them together.
How many takes were there?
I think we did 12 takes. We looked at the song, the different layers of her vocals, that was one way to approach some layers. Some we did in a place that was emotionally more fresh. Then we had some takes that were a little bit more about really what the songs about, letting go of that stuff and getting past that and being more celebratory. After we had a few that we were really happy with, then we started to play with the emotions, the prevailing emotion in the take, and also a different reading. As we went along, we really built it together in terms of, we got it this covered this way. Let’s cover it this way on a different path.
How was working with Adele?
It was fantastic. She’s super smart. She’s a total pro. She’s very funny. She’s very charming. She’s very much a real person. Everybody says, “Yeah, that’s what I thought.” It’s nice for that to be true for once. Sometimes somebody’s image doesn’t always completely align with your experience of them personally, but in this case it vey much did. She’s a pretty powerful, special lady.
She’s not really known for dancing. How’d you get her to let loose?
Looking at her past work, I was surprised that there hadn’t been a video that really was about her from start to finish performing the song. That’s really the most compelling thing you’d want to see. When it came to her dancing, there was no choreography, per se, but it just required for her to be cognizant of what she had done in the last [take]. There were certain suggestions of what would look good when repeated many times over. After a couple takes, once everybody was a little bit looser in term of us on the camera side, she just really let go. Towards the end, we were doing takes that were more about the movement and less about the emotional performance. They were about the patterning, how this was going to appear layered over many times, playing with the texture of the dress a little bit. This was all very natural to her. This is just her being very physically expressive in a way that people aren’t used to seeing.
Who chose that dress?
She chose the dress. I was suffering from a migraine the morning of the shoot, and as I was getting that taken care of, they showed me the dress choices and I thought that was great. We talked about what would look good with this particular idea, something that had some patterning and also that has a certain lightness in the fabric. She just nailed it. It turned out to be perfect dress.
How was shooting a music video with a migraine?
I got it early and we had the doctor there before she got there, so we didn’t end up losing too much time. It was an unusual curveball. I mention it just because I remember having a migraine and kind of sitting in the dark and they’re bringing photos over: “This is her first choice, and this is her second choice, and this is her third choice…” I was like, this first choice, that looks great. That was the only bit of directorial decision-making that was required during the migraine.