“Now that I’m talking about this story, I’m realizing how much none of it was the initial idea,” Denver pop songwriter Kayla Marque says with a laugh when I reach her at home to discuss her new music video for “Love Should Be." It's the second single to appear prior to the release of her forthcoming second album, Brain Chemistry (Left Brain / Right Brain).
Her initial idea for the video? Casting a diverse group of performers and making it “an ode to all different shapes and sizes and colors of people.” Marque scrapped that idea after some contemplation, ultimately deciding the track was about learning to love herself rather than others, and reframed the concept accordingly. This time, the video would feature her alone, set against the dramatic landscape of the Great Sand Dunes National Park. (As far as Colorado artists go, she’s not alone in her preference for the spot.)
A few days before Marque, director Mara Whitehead, and their crew headed out, flash flood and heavy rain warnings for the region started rolling in. The idea of driving four-plus hours each way was quickly losing its appeal, especially with a possible rain-out situation waiting for them. As an alternative, Whitehead suggested the paint mines outside Calhan in El Paso County. Marque loved the idea.
“‘Love Should Be’ is vibrant and colorful, and the park itself adds this type of glow and this good energy,” she says. The prehistoric clay deposits feature heavily in the video, providing a stark backdrop for her four-elements-inspired costuming. Marque styled the shoot herself, drawing inspiration from Avatar: The Last Airbender and Atlantis. Billowing skirts, beaded headdresses and eye-catching wigs abound.
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Marque reads the video’s spiritual and pastoral overtones as representations of her own internal transformations, the triumph of spirit over ego and love over fear. It’s the higher self, the left brain, and the counterbalance to her moody and monochrome video for “Fold in Half," released earlier this year and coinciding with the "right brain" portion of the forthcoming album.
“My first album, Live and Die Like This, was very much sad-girl brooding, like, ‘Ugh, this is my life, and I’m smoking cigarettes and drinking whiskey about it.’ This one is more like, ‘Okay, I’m figuring out who I am, and I have this duality I’m trying to navigate,’” she says. “It’s very honest. It’s pretty raw.”
Marque wrote “Love Should Be” several years ago, performed it by request at a wedding and a funeral, and now considers it something of a testament to her own life. “This song has been through a lot with me. It’s been in my back pocket through a few different experiences,” she says. She used the song to grieve privately, and then to heal.
“It's allowed me to express the other side of grief and loss, and to be able to channel a higher energy and something I think people can be uplifted by,” she says. “So it’s been a gift to me as much as I hope it’s a gift to other people.”