When I first wrote Friend With a Pool back in 2019 I imagined marketing it as a kitschy cute song about summer. It had a faster tempo and a dreamy pop vibe. I thought the video would be hyper saturated and full of friends wearing rainbow swimsuits—giant sunglasses and neon yellow lemonades (to be fair—this still sounds amazing). I daydreamed about a release party on the June solstice. Maybe there could be a giant inflatable water slide??
As the fates would have it I met Shelly Hawkins (Hawkinsdance) quite literally—in a swimming pool. After mentioning this song Shelly asked for me to email it to her. Two days later I heard a buzz from my phone—“Oh hey Jill, this is just something we’re kicking around what do you think?”
I sat on my living room floor…hit play..and proceeded to bawl my eyes out.
Shelly had taken this song and injected it with a solemnity it hadn’t had previously.
It felt slower somehow.
It had weight.
It was beautiful.
We performed live together a few times, notably at the Tucson Museum of Art right in the middle of the museum (dreamy right??), but we were looking for some way to record this dance and this song and their union on film.
Enter Julius Schlosburg. If you live in Tucson then—you know. I mean, you know right?
Julius’ skills with his camera are matched only by the love and care he holds for people and their stories.
Also, he’s just like—fun to chill with.
After scouting a few places to film we decided on an abandoned freight yard out towards Vail. It had these giant slats in the roof and when the sun came through it made all these wonderful lines on the concrete. We talked about how cool it would be to play with the shadows when the dancers came in and out of the shafts of light.
As luck would have it—on the day of the shoot—it rained. And I mean it POURED. It was grey and overcast. There were puddles everywhere. No shafts of light. How was I going to release whatever we had filmed in the summer? How would we convey that feeling of wavy distant heat? I was heartbroken. I felt like some part of the story would be lost.
I was wrong.
2020 taught me that sometimes unforeseen events can pull the world into focus in a way you’d never expect. The rain changed the trajectory of this project in a way that allowed me to explore what this song might mean if it was turned inside out—what it might mean if it included a reflection of itself. Julius’ incredible eye and Shelly’s solemn dance had expanded the world this song lived in. It wasn’t different—just bigger than before somehow.
At its heart Friend With a Pool is a song about rest. It’s a song about leaning on your people. It’s about being in the desert. It’s about the dissonance born from experiencing the same desert from different places of privilege. It’s a song about relief. It’s a song about asking for help. It’s a song about community and it’s a song about Tucson.
I couldn’t be prouder of this piece and my city and my friends. I hope it gives you as much joy as it gave us creating it ❤️