Jessica Gerhardt has released the highly-anticipated visuals for her newest single “Be My Hands”. Gerhardt is a singer-songwriter and ukelelist from Santa Monica, California. Formerly performing under the moniker ‘Feronia’, Jessica recently went back to her roots and began creating music under her birth name. “Be My Hands” is a beautiful and angelic song about the tensions that exist at the beginning of a new relationship- the excitement and nervousness of it all. The music video to go along with the single is filled with ethereal and mystifying shots including soft double exposure, and a large variety of creative cinematic scenes of Jessica in a dim-lit room moving in an interpretive dance-esque way. The video portrays the tensions of a new relationship in such an enigmatic and magical light. A kaleidoscope and prism effect is scattered throughout the video which adds to the angelic and ethereal feel; very art-based photographic elements. An image of two hands reaching out for each other that are emerging from what seems to be water is repeated throughout the beginning portion of the video, tying in perfectly to the lyrics sung by Jessica. We’ve asked Jessica a few questions about the video and song, as well as a few tips for any of you singer-songwriters out there!
Q: What was the main inspiration behind the cinematic visuals for “Be My Hands”?
Jessica: The video moves from dark to light imagery throughout the song, as the evolution of the lyrics happens as well. In the beginning “we don’t touch” – there’s avoidance and trepidation. By the end “we feel the calm, the energy between” – the walls come down, there’s more peace, and a greater sense of lightness, willingness, and freedom. The use of mirrors and projections is symbolic of how we are all mirrors to one another – and how often when we look at someone, we see what we project onto them rather than seeing them for who they really are. The closeness of many of the camera angles on my eyes, my hands, my mouth plays on the desire for intimacy, as well as the different lyrical aspects of the song. The use of glitter and broken/stained glass all continues to be evocative of the things that reflect what’s projected onto them, the glitz or things that are shiny on the surface, and yet when we move to the end of the video there’s nature, greater realness and authenticity.
Q: Could you explain the meaning behind the lyrics of this single?
Jessica: “Be My Hands” is about the tension that exists at the beginning of relationship. The lyrics that refer to the “we” as in “we don’t touch” or “we look” or “we don’t say” are about all the apprehension, the sense of not wanting to show your feelings first, the fear of vulnerability really, and yet there’s also the desire, the feeling of being drawn to the other. The excitement and the nervousness. All the things we don’t say or share because we’re too afraid to lay our cards out first.
The lyrics “be my hands” and “be my eyes”, etc are an invocation directed at that which is greater than myself, to help me transcend the very feeble and broken aspects of my humanity. The song is about wanting to love authentically. A crying out to the universe to help me to see, and touch, and speak with truth and love, rather than with lust, power, objectification, fear, or falseness/superficiality.
Ultimately the song resolves in a desire to open one’s heart, to love vulnerably. On many levels that’s where I’m at. And yet in many other ways that’s still a posture I’m working towards every day.
Q: Can you tell us a few of your favorite femme artists that inspire you?
Jessica: Fiona Apple and Alanis Morissette were some of my earliest influences. I was so moved by the rawness and expression in their singing styles as well as the particularity and nakedness of the storytelling in their lyrics. These are women who do not shy away from the deep, even if it’s heart and gut wrenching, and that motivated me to pursue that level of depth in my own songwriting and in my life in general. Joan Armatrading’s “The Weakness In Me” was one of the first songs I ever taught myself to play on the ukulele. Her voice is so rich and deep and her songwriting matches her voice. I’m also a huge fan of St. Vincent. I love how Annie Clark composes songs with unpredictable arrangements and complex chord patterns, messing around with syncopation and rhythm, and just quirky and symbolic lyrics. Listening to her music has opened me up to trying new things in my own song writing. Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak (and Flock of Dimes) is another huge influence. Her singing style is so light and yet deeply emotive and her songwriting and production is always distinctive and beautiful. A few others whose music has played a huge role in my music life are Audrey Assad, Moda Spira, Regina Spektor, Dido, Lucius, Florence and the Machine, Feist, and Marketa Irglova. That’s more than a few, but there are soooo many other amazing femme artists that I didn’t list here too…
Q: Do you have any tips for other female singer-songwriters out there pursuing their own musical endeavors?
Jessica: Just keep writing from your heart, from a deep place of truth within. And get to know other artists you admire. Introduce yourself. Build bridges and build community with your artist friends. Lift each other up. Make space to listen to one another and support one another. Do whatever you can to not give power to the negative voices that discourage you. Counter the negative narratives in your mind with positive affirmations and keep surrounding yourself with people who build you up. Keep leaning into the challenges that come with pursuing music with joy and lightheartedness.