After years of vocal coaches and music educators regarding Nashville as an opportune city
for becoming an artist, it’s been exciting to realize that Nashville is, in fact, a family-first
hub of creatives.
One such example of a full-circle moment is Monica Moser’s partnership with fellow
Belmont alumni creatives in her latest music video, which is out now. Hitting the refresh
button on a past song of hers, “Feeling For You,” tells a story of a falling-out we have all
Taking place in a low-lit room, and tinged with the dynamic possibilities behind its veil of
minimalism, I was immediately intrigued to watch the story unfold.
Without spoiling the entire video, the stark use of lighting and camera effects and the
choreographer’s blindfold add a whole new element to Moser’s lyrics. The dissonant
opening harmonies, combined with a mixture of lyrical improv dancing, provoke tangible
feelings of being trapped in a vicious cycle with someone you love: going against your
better judgement, you tirelessly try to be everything for someone who perhaps isn’t
reciprocating. As with the lyrical progression and actions of the dancer, though, we must
choose what is best for ourselves at the end of the day.
Sonically, her music is hard to boil down to a single genre. Pushing the bounds of a cookie-
cutter singer songwriter, Moser’s sound floats around the folk/alternative, indie-pop realm.
Her gentle voice and mid-range tone are like velvet, and seems to freely move about the
song like a cello would in a full-bodied ballad. Born a New Yorker and Texas-raised, Moser
is steadfast in coloring outside the lines in her EP, your absence, a closeness. As stated in her
artist bio, this “long kept secret obsession of becoming a writer” began as a secret in grade
school, then bloomed into her life, now, with a degree in songwriting and fulfilling day to
day life pursuing her dream.
We got to talk with Monica – while still maintaining proper social distancing etiquette –
about the influences behind her EP and the history behind the song itself.
What inspired “Feeling For You,” and its eventual music video five years later?
“Feeling For You” was partially based on a personal experience and partially based on a…
homework assignment. Allow me to explain.
I was a Songwriting major at Belmont University from 2012-2016, and one of my
Songwriting assignments assigned by Drew Ramsey (has written for India.Arie, John
Legend) was to pick a scene from a TV show and write a song to fit the mood and feel.
Essentially a DREAM homework assignment for me as I’m equally music and TV obsessed. I
chose one of my favorite shows of all time, NBC’s Parenthood, and picked the scene spoiler alert in the final season where Joel and Julia try to sign their divorce papers but end up
getting back together instead. It’s a very emotional and cathartic moment, and deliberately
doesn’t feel like a total resolve yet for their storyline.
The personal connection was that the song was actually about a broken friendship, and
those two people trying to figure out who they are to each other after both letting the other
one down. I’d been wanting someone to choreograph to this song for years and it finally
happened! A lot of my songs are emotive but I thought this one was the most conducive to a lyrical dance interpretation. I’m so happy with how my first music video turned out!
What made you choose dance as the primary subject of the video?
When you don’t have a huge budget for a music video, your only options are to play
either solo or with a band to the previously recorded track in a cool setting, or you can do
something simple but artistic. I thought about what I would want to watch as a viewer, and
I’d much rather watch something different than just an artist or band playing along with
Also, collaborating with someone who’s creative contributions are so different from yours
is my favorite thing. I think the listener’s experience with a song is just as important if not
more so than the artist’s original reason for writing it, so I was really excited to have
someone completely separate interpret the song in their own way, through their own
creative medium. I’ve always been a big fan of dancing so seeing someone dance to my song was just the coolest!
Did you know Natalie and Dylan (the dancer and cameraman, respectively), prior to working with them on the music video?
Yes! Natalie Beerman (the dancer) and I went to college together and actually had worked
on some performances in the past. I knew she was the perfect person for this project
because not only is she just such a talented choreographer and dancer in general, I also
knew already that we collaborated so well together. I also met Dylan (the producer and
videographer) in college (Belmont University) and he’s been my producer for a while now.
One of the most talented I’ve ever worked with!
Did you dream up the video beforehand, or was a lot of it created through your
collaboration with them?
We started this process a long time ago, so I’m actually having trouble remembering when
certain ideas came into fruition, but we all had the basic concepts of wanting to utilize light
and dark and to express disorientation via a blindfold. When Natalie was choreographing,
she texted me to ask more about the background of the song and why I wrote it because
she really wanted to embody that feeling. She left parts of the dance up to improv on shoot
day so she could really authentically express the song in the moment. So it was definitely a
collaboration for all three of us and very thought out.
How much interpretive freedom did you give Natalie? Did you have any specific
requests for the choreography?
I basically gave her complete freedom and I’m so glad I did. She understood how to express the song emotionally through the movement and expressions she chose. I think it worked so well because from the beginning, Natalie didn’t just want to choreograph a cool dance to my song to show off her prowess — she wanted to tell the story.
There’s an ongoing interplay between the blindfold and the line, “It feels good to say I love you again, and mean it.” The dancer also moves in and out of the light as the song progresses. Can you speak to the symbolism behind that?
So in this newest version, Dylan put that line (originally just in the bridge) at the very
beginning too, which made it become a bookend lyric for the song and video. I think it’s one of the most self-aware, objective lines of the song and so the interplay of that line and the blindfold coming off and on can be seen as sort of a moment of clarity and maturation.
Did the song’s meaning change (or perhaps deepen), before and after the music
video was shot?
I think what the video does is deepen the meaning (as you can physically see the emotions) and hopefully makes it more universally felt. I hope it expands what the song could be for someone.
Are you planning to reimagine any other songs from your album, your absence, a
closeness, like you did with “Feeling for You”?
I’ve thought about it! I might do an acoustic version of “Easier to Reach,” or maybe a remix for “Immortalize” or “This Ache.” But since I did four remixes for “Feeling For You” AND this dance version, I think for now I want to focus on brand new content!
What is something you hope to accomplish, musically or personally, this year?
Before all the COVID-19 craziness, I wanted to start playing shows in new cities – not just
the ones I typically play in: Nashville (where I live), Fort Worth (where I grew up), and New York City (where I was born). Thankfully I got four under my belt (Louisville, Charlotte, Chicago & Denver) before we all began quarantining so I’m very grateful for that, and hope to get more in this year! I also hope to release 1-2 new singles as well.