Emmanuel Adjei’s on the Dark Ballet of music videos
Off the back off two showstopping promos videoclips for Madonna, Dark Ballet and Batuka, David Knight from shots.net speaks to the Amsterdam-based director Emmanuel Adjei about his ability to craft films with depth and imagery that burns in the memory.
Adjei was at home in Amsterdam last December when he received a bolt out of the blue: an invitation to listen to Madonna’s just-recorded, top secret new album. And the lady herself wanted to meet him.
It took a moment to realise that he was being offered very privileged access. “I didn’t know that when she releases an album she usually works with two or three directors, maximum,” he says. In fact, Madonna wanted him to hear her 14th studio album Madame X, select the track (or tracks) that he wanted to work on. No competitive pitching at all.
At their subsequent meeting, Madonna praised the distinctiveness of his work. “She said there weren’t many artists or directors at my stage of their career who have their own language, that’s true to themselves. It was a great start, but at the same time very intimidating! You’re sitting next to Madonna. How do you convince a pop icon like her, with so much experience, to go with your ideas?”
In fact, Madonna recognised that Adjei’s work was comparable to many excellent directors, just before they worked with her – the likes of David Fincher, Chris Cunningham, and Jonas Akerlund, to name a few. Like them, Adjei has made outstanding films that are ample evidence of his talent, in his case for Dutch-Iranian singer Sevdaliza.