Creativity in the time of quarantine is to be expected, as we all find new ways to fill our days—whether it be learning a new language or tie-dying shirts and sweatpants for our closet. It also means we have to think outside the box—or, as it were, inside—when it comes to the things we would do on a regular basis.
Jack Gilinsky faced this challenge when making the video for his debut single, “My Love.” The 23-year-old singer’s solution: produce it entirely from his home in Omaha, Nebraska, and enlist the help of his family to get it just right. Remotely directed by Diane Martel, who has also worked on music videos with the likes of Miley Cyrus, the 1975, and Ciara, the visual is reflective of our current isolated lives; in their respective locations, Gilinsky mirrors his love interest as they wander around in frustration. But it’s not all gloomy: Gilinsky also goofily dances in his backyard, clad in a reflective red Nike tracksuit paired with Givenchy gloves.
Vogue spoke to Gilinsky—over the phone, naturally—about making a quarantine music video from the ground up.
What was the process like for making “My Love?”
It definitely came together last minute, and very unexpectedly. We’ve had the song for about eight or nine months, and it was a song we knew we were gonna go with for a while. We had a plan to shoot an amazing video with a nice budget; we had everybody at the whole label, my creative director, and the director say everything was perfect. And then the pandemic hit—which, I know there are much worse problems in the world than not shooting a music video.
So when we came back to Nebraska, we had to figure out how we were going to get this done. I really wanted a visual to accompany my song, and my creative director threw out the idea of shooting my own video at home, just with my iPhone—a video to hold the new fans over and show them who I am and what my vibe is. I was not so behind the idea, but I was like, “You know what, let me just try it out and let’s see how it goes.”
So we shot for about two weeks and every day I was doing random stuff—shooting under the sheets and going outside and dancing in the freezing cold because [Martel] wanted some outdoor shots. I was kinda confused—I was like, “Diane, is this even looking good?” And then eventually she sent me a couple of test edits and I was like, “We can keep working on this.” I was really amazed by what it looked like just from me shooting it alone with my parents, and I had the help of my friend Josh. I’m glad there’s a visual to accompany “My Love,” but I can’t wait to get back to L.A. and shoot a legitimate music video to either this song or whatever song comes next.
What was the inspiration behind some of the shots?
It was all shot in my family’s house—in the room that I grew up in, my parents’ bathroom, which is actually really funny. For most of the shots, they were watching TV in the other room. The idea behind [including model Simona Ksenia Kust] was to feel the vibe, because the song is all about “my love.” So I wanted to have some cute girl in there, and she was really down to do it. I wanted there to be a complementary energy, to make it seem like there’s some sort of love tension in the video, even though we were thousands of miles apart while we were shooting it. I actually didn’t see her footage until a couple days before the video and I was so glad with what she did. It’s a testament to creativity while we’re in quarantine—we’re forced to do these things.
What is it like working with Diane in quarantine?
Anybody who has ever worked with Diane Martel would tell you, it’s like we’re in constant communication. I’ll get a text at 4 a.m. and then we’ll be on FaceTime at 10:30 a.m. Or I’m working out and my phone is on the ground, but she’s on FaceTime and we’re talking about the wardrobe for the next shoot. So we’re constantly texting, but she loves to FaceTime. We’re on FaceTime at least two hours a day.
How did you choose your outfits for the video?
I was talking with my stylist Simon and Diane, and together we made this mood board of outfits I wanted to emulate in the video. I got a couple of things sent to me and they were mostly tracksuits and windbreakers. I really gravitated toward that Nike tracksuit—I felt like [Talladega Nights character] Ricky Bobby. I put on those Givenchy gloves and it fit the whole vibe, because I’m not trying to take myself too seriously, even though I do want to look good. I am a legitimate artist, so I want to show who I am through my outfits as well. With that specific fit, I felt so confident—I really felt like I took on the persona of Ricky Bobby, and that’s why you’ll see some of my goofy dancing.
For some of the other outfits, I wanted to wear glasses and be moody in the shots, so I put my hood up, then I had these Rhude shorts. I love all the Rhude stuff, all from his new collection. I wore so many other things that we didn’t put in the video, but my favorite shoe right now is the Air Force 1. So you’ll see me wearing them all the time.
What’s your routine like at home?
I wake up right around 10 a.m. And then I go downstairs, make my breakfast. I usually have four eggs and then I drink a protein shake. I go down to the basement—we have a little gym set up there. I try to spend an hour down there and then I come back upstairs. I eat my lunch right after. And then I usually have a bunch of interviews, stuff like that. Or working on a shoot with Diane—and that’s actually what I have next, a photo shoot with her. It’s fun that we’re finding a way to create new content. But it’s funny because my sister is going to take all of my photos. And my mom took the cover photo of “My Love.” This has really involved my whole family in what I’m doing, and I love that. It makes me feel like a kid again, even though I’m working on my career.
Do you have any go-to outfit choices?
It’s funny because as you say that I look down, I’m like, What am I wearing? I’m literally wearing sweatpants. I always steal my dad’s Uggs when I’m here. He has slide-on Uggs, but I always go into his closet the first day that I’m here, and I steal them and wear them every day. I’m very rarely wearing anything on top, just because it’s turning into spring and it’s pretty warm outside. So usually when I’m walking around the house—my family would even tell you—I never have a shirt on. But when I do, I’m wearing hoodies and plain white tees. Those are my go-tos.
Originally Appeared on Vogue