Montauk Beauty Brings in High Tide with ‘Drowning in Paradise’
On the heels of premiering her ethereal dream pop single Drowning in Paradise, Drue de Milo muses “it’s a summer love song, sure, but it’s really about what changes you, what has staying power.”
That’s not a new idea for the New York raised artist who trained as a ballet dancer, and has been a quiet but present staple in fashion and music circuits for years. I spoke with Drue, currently finishing up the Drowning in Paradise music video, and gearing up for the official release of the single, about where she’s been, why this track signals the dawning of her new creative era, what she hopes listeners take from it, and what she intends to give them going forward.
The track sounds a lot like freedom. The verses are airy, her vocals soothing, and as they flow effortlessly into a celebratory earworm of a hook that insists “we’re gonna live forever,” I get what she means about staying power.
She states casually “I wanted it to sound like the ocean.” A metaphor for the staying power of love with all its changing tides, but it seems the classically trained ballet dancer has a literal infatuation with the ocean as well. She describes watching surfers and seeing a superhero-like stories: “they put on their suits, like Peter Parker becomes spider-man, and tackle what’s in front of them: I want that feeling; I want everyone to have that feeling.”
Bringing that feeling to life in her directorial debut with the upcoming Drowning in Paradise music video was “an exciting challenge,” she states simply. Playing on the “Bonnie and Clyde” imagery from the song lyrics, Drue leaned in to visuals highlighting lovers from different worlds fleeing their constraints and coming together in an almost supernatural way; she takes on the role of “the Earth,” getting down and dirty in rocks and sand, while WSL surfer Leif Engstrom inhabits the role of “the Sea,” all shot, naturally, in Montauk, NY, otherwise known as “the end of the world.”
The fashion definitely plays a large element too. With her street style having been covered by the pages of W Magazine, The Cut, and The Sartorialist, de Milo is drawn to that same “no rules,” nature of style.
“If something really has staying power, it can work anywhere,” says Drue, “so I like seeing an evening dress in the water, or a swimsuit nowhere near the beach.”
When asked about the poetry woven into the song – a lyrical creation story about the sea meeting the earth – Drue admits she almost didn’t include it. “I wasn’t sure people would get it; or maybe they’d think it was silly, but then I remembered the song itself was about doing what you love and now it’s my favorite part.”
It’s an unexpected, touching finale to the song that elevates from catchy pop to catchy-pop-art. It works.
Pre-Covid, Drue did one of the last live shows at NYC hotspot Laduree, and can’t wait to get back to performing. Previous shows at the Viper Room and The Standard to packed houses live present in her memory and she misses the human element of connecting to a live audience. For now, however, she’s excited to do some live streams and socially-distanced smaller gigs.
We can’t wait to hear it live, but for now Drowning in Paradise is stuck in our heads and on repeat.