Emil Nava is one of the UK’s biggest music video directors, having worked with Jessie J, Ed Sheeran and Rita Ora.
Now though, he’s joined up with Mastercard to help make a trio of fan’s dreams come true, as he’ll be directing them in remakes of videos by Rita Ora, Conor Maynard and Delilah to celebrate their 15th year sponsoring the BRITS.
So how did you get involved with Mastercards Priceless Videos contest?
They contacted me to see if I’d be interested in the project and it sounded like real fun. I’ve worked with Rita and Delilah and know Conor and I just thought it sounded like a great project. I feel like it’s good to give the fans of these singers something back and I thought that I could do something really exciting with this.
Are you excited about working with the contest winners?
Yeah, definitely, I’m really looking forward to it. I think it’s a really good opportunity for the fans to get to know what it’s really like to do a music video. They’re the people who watch these day to day and get the views up so I’m really excited for them to get to see what it’s like on the other side. Mastercard have given us everything, all my team and a full crew, so they will really get to know what it’s like to make a music video.
Are you looking for them to give some input to the videos?
Definitely, I’m excited to see what input they want to have, as that’s a crucial part of the process. If I was doing this with one of the artists, they definitely would have a say. If they have an idea, we discuss it and after we do a shot I really want to show them what they did. I definitely want them to be involved in the whole process.
So how does the process work usually then or you?
Well, it all starts with the label’s sending me the song and me coming up with ideas. There’s either a brief from the artist or the team at the label of what they want to do or they sometimes just let me start from scratch. That can be just me listening to the song and having a rough idea about what I want to do.
Sometimes though, you work really closely with the artists and they tell you what they want to do. For instance, Rita (Ora) on the ‘Shine Ya Light’ video came to me and said “I want to do this in Kosovo”. So then I had to take that into account. I’ve done stuff with Ed Sheeran when he won’t want to be in the video in person.
Sometimes the artist prefers to have a real input and sometimes they don’t, but I always think it’s really important to find out what they’re feeling because the song’s close to them and they know what they imagine at first.
A lot of music video directors have gone on to do feature films very successfully. What is it about this field that generates so many creative people?
I think it’s just having such an open playing field to work with. When Ed Sheeran comes along with a song simply about love, it’s such a wide canvas try and make your video. So you really get to express really strong narrative on some, conceptual ideas on others or simply just a really strong, cinematic look. You get to express many different areas of your creativity and get to show it off a lot.
That compared with commercials where they’ll come to you already with an idea and you’re just building on that. With music videos you get to really show your personality and your style. If people watch my showreel, they get to see what influences I have, the look and tone I go for, so I think it’s a really good way to show off your film making.
You’ve had great success so far, what was it like winning the prize for Best Music Video at the 2011 Q Awards. What was that like for you?
That was really surreal, because directors don’t usually get to go to those type of awards. A lot of the time it’s just the artist, so I was really fortunate I’d done all of the videos of Jessie, so we were good friends and she got me on her table.
When it got called out, she just grabbed my hand and pulled me up there. Now I’m not used to that and I’m not really being in front of the camera, so I was completely nervous. It was exciting though to feel what it’s like for them though and made for a great night.
Your brother Jake’s also a music video director. Is there any sibling rivalry?
Yeah, there’s a bit I guess. There’s always a family rivalry, but we both want each other to succeed and do well. They’ll always be a bit of that but as long as we’re both doing well, that’s the main thing.
So, you’ve got the Mastercard shoot this week, but what else is on the horizon for you in 2013?
We’re shooting the stuff with Mastercard this week so that’s exciting and will take me up to the night of the BRITS with all the post production. Apart from that, I’m going to be doing a video for AlunaGeorge who are an act really on the rise and have done so well in the BBC polls.
I’m really excited about working with them and I love working with people for the first time, trying to create something really special. Then there’s a feature film I’m working on with a partner at the minute, which hopefully we’ll shoot later this year. Apart from that, just always trying to make bigger and better stuff I guess.
In celebration of MasterCard's 15th year as sponsor of The BRITs, Emil Nava is directing three fans in priceless remakes of Rita Ora Conor, Maynard and Delilah's music videos which will be broadcast in the TV ad breaks on the night of The Award and you can see more of Emil's work at PulseFilms.