Iyla is surrounded by roses, sunflowers, tulips, and peonies in her buoyant new video for “Flowers.” The rising pop/R&B singer is upset at the constant pleas for forgiveness by floret-faced butlers who cater to her every need. In a video bursting with the colors of a springtime fever dream, the relentless decor is also probably hell to witness if you have a pollen allergy.
Iyla laughs as she explains the video’s unique concept to MTV News over the phone, revealing its a deeper meaning. “It’s about the idea that women will really accept gifts and material items in place of an apology,” she says. “It’s like, oh, get me flowers or chocolates or whatever, but really there’s something else going on and you can’t just be honest with me!”
“Flowers,” which appears on Iyla’s debut 2018 EP War + Raindrops, finds the singer’s soft timbre whispering sweet arrogance in your ear and picking the petals off of roses. Her annoying lover apologizes by shoving flowers in front of her, but that just won’t do the trick this time — even if she does, in fact, like flowers, despite the song’s bitter refrain (“Fuck flowers”). But she wouldn’t tell you that. “I like delicate and beautiful flowers,” she says. “I think my favorites would be both peonies and roses because they both represent love.”
It makes sense that the “Flowers” visual is absolutely overgrown with flowers, even as this dream garden sets the stage for a creepy storyline. While getting her every need catered, Iyla psychedelically changes size according to what happens, at one point appearing with her head popping out from the top of a house. “The theme is kind of like Alice In Wonderland, that when I’m given love and affection I grow, and when I’m given material items, I shrink,” she says.
Her favorite scene finds her scarfing down boxes of chocolates with a murderous glint in her eyes. The boxes quickly tower higher and cocoa smears the corners of her mouth, but she just keeps going. “We shot that particular scene maybe three or four times, so I kept having to get my makeup redone because we’d have to take the chocolate off of my face to eat it again and again,” she says. “I’m not complaining.”
As many petals, vines, and blossoms dot the landscape of “Flowers” though, Iyla wants to make it clear that these gifts can only go so far when it comes to apologizing for wrongdoing. “You have to apologize to be and be both real and honest,” she says, before adding a second demand: “But you also have to have a rose in your hand.”
“Flowers” is the third video she’s dropped from War + Raindrops following the breathtaking cinematic visuals for “Juice” and “Shampoo.” It’s similarly a feast of warm colors and heightened visual aesthetics, giving new dimensions to the song it represents. All three were directed by Patrick “Embryo” Tapu, Iyla’s creative director who helps bring her eccentric visual direction to life. “We both just had a similar feel for the video, so we got in and did a one-day shoot,” she says of the process. This might be the last of the videos from War + Raindrops because the three released visuals “really tell the story of the EP.” But with Iyla and Embryo together, you never know. She leaves the door open for possibilities.
It’s been almost a year since her debut EP came out last October, and even though “Flowers” is just coming out, Iyla is surging ahead. “I am actually literally in the studio right now,” she says. “I’m working every day and night for the next couple of months. I don’t know exactly what it will look like – if it’s another EP, if it will be a couple of singles – but there is definitely going to be new music out before the end of the year.”
Check out Iyla’s garden-centric video for “Flowers,” which premiered today on MTV and mtvU, up above.