For Ingrid Chavez, one time protege of Prince, and his co-star in Graffiti Bridge (before dropping out of music for a very long time to raise a family with legendary post-punk crooner David Sylvian), the last two years have been a kind of artistic reawakening. It began with her first new album in ten years, 2019’s stunningly accomplished ‘Memories of Flying.’ But last December, she veritably reclaimed her most public legacy, at last releasing her own version of ‘Justify My Love,’ the song she co-penned with Lenny Kravitz, and that would become a massive #1 hit for Madonna. (A dispute over writing credits was ultimately settled in her favor.)
Now she’s giving the song a visual companion, with the release of an equally intriguing and alluring new lyric video. In it, the seductive words are seen emanating directly from the shadowed songstress, while scenes of steamy erotica unfold amidst the salacious, jittery lighting of an unidentified room – and it all might just as easily be taking place in a palace in Vienna as a trashy motel in Berlin. The optical enigma becomes a part of the storyline.
Ms. Chavez fondly looks back on the serendipity of the creation and recording of the now storied track. Kravitz and Andre Betts were in a studio in LA, as it were, and she happened in.
“There are events in our lives that come to define who we are as an artist,” she recalls. “One of those defining moments for me was that day in Los Angeles, just hanging out in the studio with Lenny and Andre; I was in the city doing overdubs for Graffiti Bridge. It was not planned, I just happened to be in the room while they created what would become one of the most raw and unforgettable tracks of the ’90s.”
Most fascinatingly, the now infamous lyrics actually started out as a love letter, which love was still in its earliest blossoming. That she has at last now recorded the song herself, is in a way like going back and revisiting those electric feelings of burgeoning passion.
“I think what is important to know about this song is that it is personal, it was written for me,” she explains. “The words were from a letter I had just written so the emotions were strong. It would ultimately wind up in Madonna’s hands and mark a major shift in her own image and musical style for a period of time. In some way, it changed the trajectory of both of our lives. That is the power of a song written from that deeper place that we as writers are forever chasing.”
It’s worth noting that she indeed chased it and significantly found it on Memories of Flying – and so the album is essential listening for going deeper with Ingrid. Which we absolutely and highly recommend doing.
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