Emeli Sandé’s video “Clown” is simple, subtle and artistic but nevertheless conveys a very clear and disturbing message about the music industry and those that rule it. Is “Clown” about Emeli Sandé “selling her soul” to the elite? We’ll look at the meaning of the song and music video.
Emeli Sandé is an English-born Scottish singer whose album Our Version of Events became the best selling album of 2012 in the UK. With three number one singles and widespread critical acclaim, Sandé is set to win a flurry of awards in 2013 and possibly more recognition “across the pond”. Did her recent success come with a hefty price tag? Judging by the message conveyed in her single Clown, yes, yes it did.
It certainly doesn’t take much analytical effort to understand that Clown portrays the music industry as a monolithic, coercive and even dangerous entity, lead by powerful people who demand nothing less than total submission from their chosen artists. In exchange for success, a damning contract (akin to an oath) must be signed that not only leads to relinquishing creative control, but, on a higher level, relinquishing an artist’s very soul. Is this why Sandé became an important part of the London Olympics’ Ceremonies (a seemingly blatant elitist occult ritual), where she sang in a disturbing segment entitled “Abide With Me”, which told the story of a young child giving away his soul to a malevolent entity? Maybe. Let’s look at the video.
Clowns Get No Respect
Clown is pretty much the opposite of most of the videos I describe on this site. There is no migraine-inducing fashion, no super-futuristic dance moves and no symbols being flashed every 3 seconds. Yet, in the end, the same dark reality is conveyed and the same elitist group is being acknowledged and referred to.
The video is shot in black and white, in the style of silent films of the 1920s. All of the action takes place in a single setting, a kind of meeting room where it seems important issues are being discussed. On one of the walls, we read the words “Anywhere in the world and solar system”. These words often appear on music industry contracts as a way of defining the true reach of it in case of legal issues. Also, these words give this meeting room an ethereal dimension, one that transcends time and place.
The decisions being made seem to have a weight that supersedes any regular political or national entity. There are men in military uniforms resembling those worn during the reign of Hitler or Mussolini, though the racial diversity of this panel indicates that we are not looking at a traditional fascist government, but at something of a “higher level”, hence the words “Anywhere in the world and solar system”. Put another way, the video appears to refer to a dictatorship evolving on a supra-national level, such as maybe … the Illuminati and the NWO?
The video begins with a strange scene: Emeli enters this room escorted by two soldiers as if she were a prisoner, yet she is greeted with warm applause from around the room. Right from the start, the video describes the contradiction of being a star in this day and age: influential and revered by the masses, while still completely in submission to higher powers. The applause Emeli receives is almost sarcastic as if saying “We are applauding you like your fans do — but we still own you”.
Emeli is then presented with something that represents the dilemma of anyone who wants to make it big in the music industry.
Before any words are even exchanged between the men and Emeli, the singer is expected to sign a contract. As we see by her reaction, this is not an ordinary business contract, but a document that will heavily impact the rest of her life. Signing this document equals relinquishing some of her rights, freedoms, creative control and … her soul?
Emeli refuses and says “No”. Immediately, the men in the room show signs of impatience and become more forceful. One of the men steps up to her, tells her “Please, you must reconsider” and makes her sit down.
We then see other gestures indicating that Emeli’s physical integrity is being violated. While these actions are somewhat subtle in the video, they are a symbolic way of referring to the physical and psychological violence stars can be subjected if they do not fully comply with the elite’s will.
Emeli is treated with the typical speech that is given to artists to convince them to sign a contract. She is told to take advantage of this rare opportunity to be rich and famous. We quickly get a sense that, if she refuses to sign with these people (the elite), she will never “make it” because they are basically the only path to celebrity, that there is apparently no way of making it big in the music industry but signing with this monolithic entity that is controlled by a closed group of individuals.
The men tell Emeli:
“You have great talent, and the brightest of futures. All we require is your consent”.
To which she replies:
“You mean my surrender.”
This implies that the contract is indeed one that forces Emeli to submit to the powers that be and to become a virtual puppet, or a clown. One man then replies:
“We mean your co-operation”
This means that they want Emeli to willfully accomplish what is expected of her, even if she realizes that it goes against what she believes in … which is the meaning of “selling out”.
When Emeli says:
“I want freedom, to be myself”,
a man promptly replies:
“What use is freedom … if you live in the gutter”
flaunting the prospect of material gain, and loss, in order to get her to sign the contract.
As she continues to hesitate, the men get angrier and start yelling at her. At one point, a man says “We need a decision” and a vote gets taken, although Emeli does not get a vote. By a show of hands, the men decide what to do with Emeli. With a single gesture, one man sums up her fate if she doesn’t sign the contract.
In short, if she does not accept the terms of the contract, these men will kill her. She is then reminded of the opportunity she is passing up:
“Success is impatient. You audience is waiting.”
When presented again with the pen and paper, Emeli grabs the pen and begins singing the chorus of the song, confirming that she accepts the terms of the contract.
“I’ll be your clown
Behind the glass
Go ‘head and laugh ’cause it’s funny
I would too if I saw me
I’ll be your clown
On your favorite channel
My life’s a circus-circus
I’m selling out tonight”
The song’s lyrics describe the sadness of an artist who has been reduced to the status of a clown, a puppet that is told what to do in order to obtain material gain. As depicted in the video, the song’s lyrics also convey the fact that she was forced into this contract, which is, when all is said and done, nothing more than glorified exploitation.
“I’d be less angry if it was my decision
And the money was just rolling in
If I had more than my ambition
I’ll have time to please
I’ll have time to thank you as soon as I win”
In this era where an increasingly monolithic music industry is revealing itself to a public that is still clueless, the messages reaching to airwaves are becoming increasingly filtered, similar and upsetting. The themes of rebellion, of the victory of the human spirit over a soul-crushing system, of transcending boundaries through art are silenced and virtually banned from the music industry. Where are these groups that had a message? That stood for something? Who would prefer death to selling out? They do still exist – but they are not in the elite-controlled mass media anymore. Today, stars are either “chosen” from a young age and built from the ground up by the industry, or are talented individuals like Emeli Sandé who are “recruited” and forced to become a “clown”.
Clown is about submission, about giving up, about the victory of oppression over the human spirit, about giving in to pressure, about accepting temporary material gain for success, about signing over one’s soul over to a powerful, oppressive group. For some reason, these messages must be communicated to the public, as if to subliminally demoralize the masses, to make sure that no real role models or icons – those who uphold certain values above anything else – are there to inspire and give hope to the world.
While the song is full of regret and melancholy, it is still a “victory speech” from the Illuminati to the masses. In a very simple and theatrical matter, Clown describes how the industry functions, how it treats its stars and how it forces them to sell their soul. Some might interpret Clown as Sandé “speaking out” against the industry. But the “moral of the story” being told is that she gave in. And now she’s on TV. And she sang during the Olympics in front of a billion people in a ceremony that was tainted with the symbolism of the elite, the same group depicted as forcing her to sign that contract in her video. Before her Olympic performance, perhaps Sandé sang to herself I’m selling out tonight.