Sometimes the biggest thing holding us back is ourselves, trapped within the confines of our own minds with competing facets of persona and haunted by the lingering specter of doubt or regret. Nyssa tackles this concept head-on in the new video for her anthemic single “Anybodys,” a tragic love story between the duality of being unfolding within the claustrophobic confines of the psyche.
Lyrically the track embodies the kind of blue-collar balladeering that got Springsteen promoted to The Boss but this track isn’t for the 9-to-5 set. “Anybodys” is night-shift music, tinted with shades of Nick Cave’s fatalistic melodrama and David Lynch’s hair-trigger tension that fully embraces the darkness on the edge of town. A straightforward narrative detailing the tale of star-crossed lovers whose chance encounter rekindles forgotten memories and unleashes a torrent of repressed emotions makes it a solid springboard for the accompanying Ron Hollywood directed cinema noir video with its impressionistic take on intrapersonal struggle and ultimate self-acceptance.
Taking place almost entirely within the bounds of a small hotel room, the setting for this micro-drama is a kind of Black Lodge of the mind, a surreal space in which conflicting aspects of persona square off in a turf war for dominance of being. Cohabiting shades, one dressed in black and exuding unhinged masculinity, the other in white and glittering eyeshadow with an aura of seductive magnetism, interchange and merge as their conflict escalates. The arrival of a third shade, a faceless aggressor in black military garb hovering menacingly in a corner ultimately unites both sides of the ego, a new singularity of being fighting back against the ghost of past regrets that kept them cuffed and restrained within the mental prison of the hotel room. The unified persona overcomes the aggressor and escapes into the hall and out of the building. Confronted with the brightness of daylight and the realization that the outside world is empty and harsh, the persona retreats back to the room. Gazing upon her reflection in the mirror, she kisses it, ultimately learning that overcoming self-imposed mental detention and loving the entirety of ones being is the true key to happiness.
To put everything into perspective it’s important to understand where Nyssa is placing her points of reference as she crafts her introspective rumination on personal identity and self-actualization. Inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet by way of its midcentury counterpart West Side Story, Nyssa titles her piece after the streetwise tomboy hovering on the fringes of the impending rumble between the Jets and the Sharks. Despite her limited screen time Anybodys is a fascinating character, one with an ambiguous street name, donning masculine clothes and sporting a close-cropped hair cut in an effort to curry favor with the no-girls-allowed Jets and earn an invitation to join their ranks. Anybodys is in turn based upon by the ever-loyal Balthasar of Romeo and Juliet, a trusted companion to Romeo ready and willing to do whatever it takes to serve his Veronese prince. The male/female dichotomy of each version of the character is also intrinsic to Nyssa’s vision, questioning whether each’s motives are romantic or platonic, a conflict that is simmers behind the motivations of the characters. Both Anybodys and Balthasar sacrifice their own personal identity in the pursuit of acceptance by an outside group or individual, ultimately saddled with the weight of deaths they were unable to prevent that forces them to call into question who they really are, what they are really living for.
In that sense, this video can almost be considered a sequel for the character of Anybodys/Balthasar. In the aftermath of the death of the object of their affections, Anybodys/Balthasar would have potentially dealt with the seismic upheavals of conflicting emotions surrounding past events in relation to their identity. In the narrative of the video the outcome is positive. Despite the pain and suffering Anybodys/Balthasar ultimately survives the mental fallout and emerges stronger, a truer version of themselves that embraces the opposing facets of their persona to reveal a new, actualized identity not burdened by regret or surrendering to the whims of others for acceptance.
“Anybodys” will appear on Nyssa’s full-length debut album, Girls Like Me, releasing later this year. Check out her previous singles on Spotify and follow Nyssa on Instagram for the latest updates on this powerful new voice.