Whether she’s traveling the world shooting stellar photos, leading all-female art expeditions, or laying it down behind the mic, whatever Amanda Bjorn does, you know it’s going to be interesting. Being the definition of multi-disciplinary, Amanda’s artistic vision takes many forms – photography, painting, and music – whereby she explores the connection between our physical selves and the world around us. She’s done everything from singing in a band (Bjorn and the Sun), to exhibiting her art around the world, to starting her own photography company (Women Photo Tours), to curating art for Feminist– and she’s just getting started.
The Miami-based artist recently released her first song as an emerging solo artist “Love Is All That Matters” (produced and co-written by Isabella Summers of Florence and the Machine) enabling her diverse skills to harmoniously come together in the same space. Teaming up with Spanish filmmaker, Arden, the pair have successfully challenged gendered and heterosexual ideas of love and given the world a beautiful rendition of the many forms that love can take.
Steph Rushton: What’s the story behind “Love Is All That Matters”?
Amanda Bjorn: “Love Is All That Matters” came to life in Isa’s makeshift studio in 2017 when we wrote the entire song in a couple of hours. At the time, I was in a band with my ex-boyfriend and a few months after this song was written, we ended up breaking up and parting ways. The song sat on a hard drive while I began my Saturn return and did a complete 180 on the life I had been living. After ten years in Los Angeles and a five-year relationship, I left L.A. and drove back alone to Southern Florida, where I had grown up. I turned most of my attention to photography and I started traveling to Cuba and launched Women Photo Tours. I wanted to take some time to experience life, have some adventures, get my heart broken a few times – all that good stuff which I feel is necessary for growth and would also inspire me musically. Three years went by, and it took the pandemic for me to reconnect with music. When I looked through my old hard drive of songs, I felt that this song was especially relevant right now. For the past year and a half, we’ve all been so isolated from each other, and things have become quite divided, so I wanted to bring a bit of light to the world.
SR: It’s fantastic that the music video challenges the stereotypical definition of heterosexual love. How did you come up with the concept?
AM: I connected with Arden through Feminist; she’s a brilliant Spanish photographer and director. I sent her the song and told her that I wanted the video to be inclusive and express different kinds of love – not just the heteronormative love that is most commonly portrayed in mainstream media. She came up with the idea to have these diverse characters from all walks of life spending the day together on the beach, getting intimate, getting vulnerable and loving up on each other, and it turned out beautifully. It’s time we change the dialogue and normalize love in all its many forms and expressions.
SR: I love how the video shares the same visual aesthetic as your photography – it’s like an extension of your artistic vision, transcending from photography to music and film.
AM: I’m very visually attracted to Arden’s work, and we definitely share some of the same aesthetic preferences. Since the concept of inclusivity was so important, I wanted the video to have an international feel opposed to being something American-centric. Stylistically, the video was shot with a film aesthetic very similar to the type of film I photograph with, giving it that kind of nostalgic grain quality. I’m also a Pisces who loves the water and I have a lot of artistic work that incorporates water elements. So, the video was no exception, and the beach is a great setting to express love.
SR: Now that you’re refocusing on music in addition to your other artistic endeavours, how do you envision balancing all your projects?
AM: I’m always changing the tool or the instrument that I use depending on what speaks to me. Whether it’s a camera, a guitar, or a paintbrush – I have a lot to express and utilizing various tools helps me do this. So, I think if I can balance it all, that would be ideal, because I find it very inspiring to be able to switch between different artistic mediums, instead of doing the same thing all the time. So, I’m very excited to be creating music again and have full autonomy over my vision – which is scary, but also very liberating. I want to move forward organically, release another song this year and work on my EP over the winter and perhaps do a small tour after. This way I can still feed all my artistic projects simultaneously without burning out.
SR: Do you have any upcoming projects in Miami we can look forward to?
AM: Yes! I’m co-curating an NFT erotic art show with the Cuban art collective Clit Splash in partnership with Feminist. It will showcase pieces from 16 different artists through in-person and virtual exhibits, with the aim of re-visualizing the world of erotica outside of the straight white male gaze. But I’m most excited about releasing another new song at the start of next month so stay tuned via my Instagram!