It's easy to compare yourself to other people, to look around at the success and talent that everyone else seems to have and judge yourself and your work for not being "good enough." Specifically within the arts, it tends to feel like you're competing with your peers and sometimes even your collaborators. In reality, we're often only competing with our own ideas of perfection. Temme Scott explores that sense of competition in her new video for her song "Understudy," and what it looks like when you finally stop judging yourself.
"Understudy" starts with bright piano, as Scott's first verse immediately kicks off the confessional style songwriting sharing, "I speak in broken letters/ But I'll write an anthem to your chest." This seems to be indicative of her ability to tangibly use emotions to create music that others can hopefully relate to. As the song continues, light percussion and electric guitar slowly fill the room. The chorus brings the central message of the song to light as she sings about feeling second best, "Why do I do this to me? Oo I / I'm like the understudy / I don't trust anybody."
The accompanying music video features a younger girl, representative of Scott's younger self, looking on from afar. Meanwhile Scott is making a mess baking a cake while a referee interferes in her process. This symbolizes the debilitating self judgement that hinder's creative growth. The video works in tangent with the lyrics, as she seems to take control, dumping a ton of flour in the bowl while getting yelled at by the ref. Except this time she doesn't seem to care. There seems to be a need to prove herself and with that she exudes confidence, that is further amplified by the horn section, as she sings, "I'm gonna have to show them / They're gonna trust me / Whether they like it or not / I'm not asking, I'm telling you / I don't stop." By the second chorus she has constructed a cake of sorts and is trying to ice it as it crumbles under her fingers and the ref covers his face in disbelief. During the bridge we watch as she lays in the same pink icing that's on the cake. She sings, "I'm writing to me, like I need, like I see / How the girl who was 15 / Swallowed the steam / The entire pipe dream / To prove to the people that she was a cannon," indicating that as much as she feels the need to prove herself to others she also needs to for herself.
By the last chorus, Scott and the ref have become frozen in place as her younger self walks around them waving her arms, symbolizing how stuck they are in their own ideas of perfection. Eventually, she finishes the cake and sets it down to a disapproving look from the ref, while her younger self tastes it and loves it.
Of the music video, Scott shares, "All along, a younger version of me is just there to watch and wonder, and finally helps me realize that what I’m making, no matter how it looks on the outside, is a worthwhile labor of love. Still tastes good if it’s tastes good — forget the ingredients.”
Scott's debut album Trust You, Trust You is set to be released September 25th.