Vancouver, BC-born, Victoria, BC-based alt-folk artist Kele Fleming has dialed up the intensity of her call-to-action pop ballad “Vanishing of Bees” with a dark, soaring Synthwave remix and accompanying video.
The song, which Fleming and her band released last year with a new live video in honor of the same day, sits at the crossroads of a child’s wonder at discovery and an adult’s grief over what’s been lost.
“In the song, I call upon the memories of my childhood self — my wonder and love for the natural world,” Fleming shares. “This is contrasted with the adult voice in the song — a voice that expresses grief for what has been lost…
“Youth and the natural world threatened.”
For Fleming, her approach to producing the video was no different.
“The music video, created from a mix of stock footage and footage I shot myself, juxtaposes images of lush beauty with withered landscapes,” Fleming says. “When I was making it, my imagination was flooded with memories of the scorching summer heat and destructive wildfires that raged in BC, where I live; I found the heat we experienced last summer quite terrifying, and I am fearful for our future.
“The thought of a world without bees and the impact of their absence is equally terrifying,” she adds. “I wanted to create something that honours Atlas to Earth’s interpretation of the song while amplifying the seriousness of the predicament we’re in.
“The video is meant to move you and terrify you a little — as I remain committed to using my art to provoke emotion and spur action.”
The fourth single from her fourth studio album, The Song I’ll Write for My Whole Life, “Vanishing of Bees,” made its first public bow on UN World Bee Day in 2019 as a fundraiser for the David Suzuki Foundation’s Butterflyway Project.
“This project supports the protection and sustainment of key pollinator habitats and is very close to my heart.” explains Fleming. “The protection of bee and pollinator habitats is crucial to the sustainment of Earth’s ecosystems and our human food systems.”
Hello out there! I’m Kele (pronounced Kelly) Fleming, a singer-songwriter living in Victoria, BC. My music explores interconnected themes in my world, the climate emergency, my settler Canadian learning about reconciliation, and coming of age as a queer person. I love writing lyrics and poetry and exploring ideas. Many of my songs spring from thoughts, verses, observations, and musings scribbled in my journals and on scraps of paper. I believe that the power of a striking melody married with impactful words can move the human heart and change minds.
I wanted to breathe new life into this song and its message. I craved a departure from my signature sound and wanted to hone in on the lyrics, the melody, and the message. I was inspired by a remix that Vancouver singer-songwriter Jody Glenham released in 2020 of her song “Barely Alive.” I contacted her over social media to ask about it, and she was very generous about sharing her experience.
I discovered Canadian composer, sound designer, producer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Brett Janzen’s work through musician colleagues Coastal Town (also from Vancouver, thanks for the referral!). Brett’s alter ego is an alternative artist and remixer, Atlas to Earth. His trademark is producing intensely electronic, darkly atmospheric sounds and epically hybrid orchestral.
Complete control and full leeway! I love to see where they will take the song. The remixers I’ve worked with so far have been fantastic, and I’ve been blown away by their interpretations of the songs. They’ve certainly asked me for feedback on the mixes before they’re finalized. And, to be honest, I’ve done very little of giving feedback like… “I want to hear more X on the vocals.” I have conversations about what the song’s about for me, what my original intent in writing it has been, and sometimes what kind of new sound I’m looking for.
I love Atlas to Earth’s remix! Especially the honeyed waves of synths that buzz in the “vanishing of bees” chorus (resembling the buzzing of bees) and then the full stops before the drops to give the sense of the bees “vanishing.” Synthwave is a new frontier for me musically, and I’m thrilled with the outcome!
Oh, I love this question! And, it’s almost impossible to choose one song! If I have to choose just one, I’ll pick Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God).”
Now, I didn’t pick this one because it’s having a resurgence thanks to being featured in “Stranger Things” four decades after its original release. I picked it because it was one of THE songs, if not my fave, that I loved to dance to at clubs in 1985. So dramatic and rhythmic and full of wonderful vocal moments that entire dancefloors of dancers would sing along to. I loved the interpretive dance moves I witnessed in those days, including my own.
Jane Siberry’s 1987 album, The Walking. It’s a brilliant album…Big, orchestral, narrative songs that explore love, loss, and the power of following your muse. The songwriting is brilliant and deconstructs the popular song formula, and takes the listener on an amazing journey.
This album was a huge influence on me as a songwriter and an artist. This album taught me to tune out the noise and let the song take me where it needs to go.
I’m Jenna, and I am the founder and editor of Canadian Beats. I have had a strong love for Canadian music, which started many years ago. I have a passion for promoting these talented Canadian bands and artists, and that’s how Canadian Beats came to be. I am so proud of what it has become over the last few years, with many talented music lovers and writers coming together to spread the word of Canada’s music.