What It's Like to Edit a Music Video For (And With) Solange

FLARE scored a seat at the table with Cami Starkman, the Los Angeles-based music video editor behind Solange's "Don't Touch My Hair"

Just days after the release of her transcendent new album A Seat at the Table, Solange Knowles shared two beautiful videos for album tracks “Don’t Touch My Hair” and “Cranes in the Sky.”

Each song plays out onscreen in a specific and arresting fashion—but it’s “Don’t Touch My Hair,” which has already racked up 1,613,158 views (and counting) on YouTube since its Sunday release, that truly pushes the medium with its authoritative message of empowerment, respect and pride tied into embracing self, mind, body and hair. “It’s the feelings I wear,” sings Solange.

We had a chance to speak to the Los Angeles-based music video editor behind it. Cami Starkman counts Bastille, Cee LoCarrie Underwood, Mikky Ekko, Kan Wakan and other impressive artists among her clients—and now, Solange Knowles. Here she shares a behind-the-scenes look at how Solange invited her into her creative process (and inside her New Orleans home!) so they could cut the video side-by-side at lightning speed.

Cami Starkman - Solange

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So, obvious question: what was it *really* like to work with Solange? 
Solange and her husband Alan Ferguson, who directed the video, live in New Orleans, and because they were so busy with the release of her album they flew me to NOLA to work with them in their house! I’m used to working with artists who live in L.A. and typically come to the post house where I work in Hollywood to cut with me. So you can imagine I was excited. Solange and her family live in the cutest part of the French Quarter in a cool, old house. I would bring my laptop there every day and work side-by-side with Solange. One of my favourite memories happened the night Tina Knowles came over and cooked us all an amazing soul food dinner. I also loved seeing Solange interact with her son, Julez. He’s the cutest thing ever and so friendly. Having all that family around really made for a comforting work environment.

How did you get involved in this project?
I’ve been cutting music videos for about four years now, and the music video world is pretty small, so stuff just comes around. But specifically with this project, there was a bit of serendipity. My friend from film school is now a producer for the amazing director, Melina Matsoukas, who happens to be BFFs with Solange. I had recently cut a sizzle reel for a pitch meeting with Melina, so she recommended me.

What was your favourite part of the experience?
Getting the opportunity to work one-on-one with Solange. Most artists don’t get that hands-on with their videos, so that was really fun. Also, getting to go on a free trip to one of the most amazing and unique cities in America was pretty great too!

How long did it take to cut the video?
I worked on the rough cut myself for a few days, then I worked with Solange closely for a solid day into the night and that was about it. It was a really fast turnaround.

Did anything surprise you about her?
Solange is really hilarious. She said some things that really cracked me up. No one would ever suspect it, but from what I could tell she lives a super normal and humble life.

What’s one of the best things you learned about Solange and her creative process?
She knows exactly what she wants and has a very specific and clear vision, which made it wonderful working with her. She’s also just a really cool person who doesn’t take herself too seriously.

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