Singer-songwriter Lydia Caesar's video for "The Ones We Love" has made its way into regular rotation on BET.
Lydia Caesar is in a field at the Cahokia Mounds historic site in the middle of July, dressed in a poofy, purple dress, sweating. She’s surrounded by a videographer, her seventeen year old daughter and her stylist. Caesar is pulling double duty — she’s both performing her song “The Ones We Love” and helping direct at the same time.
Months later, the video she’s recording in the Missouri summer heat debuts on music channel BET Soul and now plays four times a day as part of a playlist on the channel. It’s not her first time having a music video on BET — she’s had three songs hit the channel before — but they only would play once before going off the air.
Caesar has been in the music business for fifteen years, moving from New York to St. Louis for her husband. She has three kids: two daughters and a stepson. She was sitting in the living room with her year-and-a-half-old when the music video premiered.
“The funny thing is I don't even have cable,” Caesar says. “I just stream on the different streaming networks, but I had a few friends that have cable and I was like ‘Make sure that you film it.’ So I'm getting FaceTimes, I'm getting Instagrams. One of my closest friends sent me the whole video. It was just great to see. The coolest thing about this opportunity is the network actually picked up the video.”
The music video that’s now played for audiences nationwide first came to Caesar in a dream — she says it's not unusual for songs, pieces of lyrics or entire verses to come to her in this way. She had no idea what she was going to do for visuals and originally had a different plan; the current version centers around a romance, but the concept started as an exploration of unkindness toward the people you see on the streets or to your loved ones. Inspiration comes from every corner of her life, Caesar says, whether it’s walking down the street or through her relationship with her husband.
Caesar’s support system plays a huge role in how she’s able to work on her craft. For a day each week, Caesar’s mother-in-law takes her youngest daughter so she can work on her music; her husband is also in the music industry, and his company Wavy Wayne Audio is one of the sponsors for her upcoming concert; and her seventeen year old daughter helped her on the music video set with both style and ideas.
“It came out better than how I dreamed it did,” Caesar says.
As far as getting the music video to BET, the singer-songwriter credits her relationships in the music industry. She had a longtime friend who had connections within MTV and BET, but it depended on if the network’s people liked the video. When they did, it set the wheels in motion for the premiere.
Others chasing their dreams should be advised that everything they need is already in their heart, Caesar says. The music industry can be hard, according to the singer-songwriter, because you can see what other artists are doing and it “can make you feel less than.” She would tell others to turn off your phone, leave social media and put your blinders on to tap into what makes you unique.
“Once you really tap into that thing, that's what's going to open the doors,” Caesar says. “Because there's already a Lydia Caesar, there's already a Beyonce and Rihanna. We don't need any more of those people. We need you.”
Three words stick out to her for advice: Shoot your shot. And then keep shooting. Caesar explains it’s a combination of perseverance and knowing and tapping into your own magic — that’s the master key to opening up doors.
Caesar trades the open field for the stage at House of Soul (1204 Washington Avenue, 314-504-7405) on December 9 to perform music from her third project, an EP titled “Legendary Love.” Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $15 and can be purchased at everythinglydia.com.
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