With an imagination many could only dream of having, d4vd’s world-building goes beyond his music. At just 18 years old, d4vd’s not only become a viral sensation on TikTok – with his song ‘Here With Me’ being used in over one million TikToks – he’s also already accumulated over one billion streams on Spotify alone.
As someone with no boundaries when it comes to his own artistry, d4vd’s musical inspirations range from the gospel music he grew up around, to Lil Pump and Deftones. Not only that, he’s also heavily inspired by anime/manga, film and gaming. His deep enthusiasm for and interest in art is clear in his visuals. d4vd’s vision truly shines through in his music videos, which are equally as important to the music they’re illustrating.
To celebrate the recent release of his EP Petals to Thorns, here’s a deep dive into the art of d4vd’s music videos.
As the first music video d4vd released from this project, ‘Romantic Homicide’ sets up the cinematic and abstract world for d4vd’s characters. In the video we’re introduced to IT4MI (played by d4vd), the main antagonist of the Petals to Thorns story. The character is visually inspired by Japanese anime/manga (‘itami’ means pain in Japanese), as seen in the music video with his eyes covered by the gauze wrapped around his head. The video is dark in every sense, with a broken hearted IT4MI (d4vd) aching in the pouring rain. The woman in the video appears to be physically dead; however, it’s only a visual representation of the metaphorical lyric: “in the back of my mind, you died, and I didn’t even cry, no, not a single tear.” The music video is powerful in that it’s able to take the figurative lyrics and create a fictional story we can all relate to: that the memories of those we once loved but who are no longer significant to us can sometimes feel dead and gone.
‘Here With Me’
In the music video for ‘Here With Me’, we see IT4MI uncomfortably staggering along a moonlit beach. With a sense of pain lingering, the video continuously intercuts between a wounded IT4MI and what seems to be his past-self when he was content with his ex-girlfriend. We’re shown the past lovers in various settings – happily playing on the beach, watching a movie, drawing together. The colour grading gives insight into the different emotional phases of how IT4MI perceives these memories: the past looks romanticised and hazy, yet the further he falls into his grief the colour morphs into a deep blue and monochrome. As the music video’s narrative progresses, it’s revealed to the viewer that the visions of d4vd and the girl dancing on the beach are an idealised delusion. They appear to have grown old with one another, whereas in reality, they never lasted long enough to experience aging together. It appears that the ex-girlfriend felt betrayed by something on d4vd’s phone, and that what we’re seeing are old and false memories of them together – ones that IT4MI is scared of losing.
Masterfully directed by Philip Andelman, the ‘Dirty Secrets’ music video sees d4vd running and spinning through a desolate field. As he begins to glide through the air, rising over the earth like a superhero, he eventually crashes back down and scurries into hiding. It’s revealed that his antagonist persona, IT4MI, has appeared before him, covered in blood. At the end of the video, IT4MI is shown holding d4vd’s belongings and d4vd has vanished. Incredibly sparse and stripped, the music video perfectly matches the song’s airy and minimalist production. Reflecting the song’s title, it could be interpreted that d4vd is trying to uncover IT4MI’s secrets, but IT4MI intervenes before he can do so.
The music video for ‘Placebo Effect’ is one of d4vd’s most abstract yet ambitious concepts to date. The video’s cinematography makes it feel like you’re watching someone’s most inner and hidden thoughts play out. There are shots of an elderly couple kissing, d4vd in empty dark spaces (which feels like the void of his mind), and him standing behind what seems to be a family. In one long stream of consciousness regarding regrets and love, d4vd leaves his audience room to interpret the story for themselves, allowing us to fill his empty spaces with our own memories and reality.
‘WORTHLESS’, a song in which d4vd finds fleeting comfort from girls who don’t care about him in order to escape the weight of his lonely existence, has a music video depicting a vulnerable and introspective d4vd in therapy. The video shows d4vd dancing in a nightclub and drowning his sorrows before regretting his decisions: “‘cause every time the sun comes up I start feeling worthless.” By contrasting the dark club’s pulsing colourful lights with the muted colder tones of the therapy sessions, we can see how d4vd perceives the two predicaments he’s found himself in. Of course, it wouldn’t be a d4vd music video without an appearance from IT4MI. At the end of the video, it’s revealed IT4MI was not only following d4vd in the nightclub, but that he was also the therapist listening to d4vd’s thoughts all along.
Directed by Chris Villa, the ‘Sleep Well’ music video perfectly conveys the song’s intention of feeling like you’re in a dream of romantic delusion. In the video, d4vd lays with an ex-lover; a significant woman who he wonders if she still thinks about him right before she falls to sleep. As they lay on the floor with one another in what appears to be a dreamlike fort, they watch projections of stars. As IT4MI sings the song, d4vd and his ex are playing make believe, and it’s then revealed she is only a figment of his imagination and isn’t actually in his fort, nor in his camcorder footage – she’s a stranger he noticed through his apartment window. As his sixth music video, it has become apparent that d4vd is already a master of not only his vision, but pulling his viewers’ expectations out from beneath them.
In d4vd’s most recently released music video ‘The Bridge’, we see both d4vd and IT4MI submerged in agony whilst underwater. The music video is paired with some of d4vd’s most dark and haunting lyrics, such as when he sings “like the waves that I sink in when you tell me that I’m not enough,” and alluding to his love for someone being so consuming that he would end his life for them. The video also parallels the 1851 – 1852 painting of William Shakespeare’s character Ophelia, in which she is depicted singing before ultimately drowning in a flowery river. d4vd’s eye for referencing different art forms exhibits his range of inspirations and enviable taste.
With d4vd confirming he has two further characters to introduce alongside himself and IT4MI, we cannot wait to see what the budding visionary will do next.
Stream d4vd’s new EP Petals to Thorns below: