First Watch: Benjamin Clementine, 'Nemesis'
After surviving homelessness, poverty and years of busking to get noticed, Paris-based singer Benjamin Clementine has come to appreciate life's golden rule. "Treat others the way you want to be treated," he sings on his stirring piano ballad "Nemesis." "Remember your days are full in number."
The song, which comes to life in a dramatic new video from directors Fred Scott and Nick Davies, fumes and bellows, full of bluster and fire as Clementine reflects on past grievances.
"I had a little bit of a crisis trying to know what I had done wrong in my past," Clementine tells us via email. "Eventually the only thought I could come up with at that time was the cliché phrase of treating others the way you want to be treated. I wanted a stride feel for this song and I intentionally called it 'Nemesis' as for the obvious reasons in Greek mythology." (Nemesis is the spirit of divine retribution).
In the video, a man is trapped in a darkened room, alone and haunted by his own thoughts, desperately searching for a way out. He is every bad thing that's ever happened in life personified. And while he attempts to atone and begs for forgiveness, karma, in the form of a beautiful woman, has its due.
"It was more of a feeling rather than thoughts when I started composing this song," says Clementine. "I suppose visually, it wasn't a hard matter as the song was particularly based on past experiences. Here I expose frustration, realization, passion and desperation in knowing when all is but too late."
Clementine has been stirring hearts abroad with his awe-inspiring voice since releasing an EP, 2013's Cornerstone, and a debut full-length in January this year, At Least For Now. He makes his U.S. debut with a new EP called I Dream, I Smile, I Walk, I Cry. "Nemesis" is the opening cut.
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