When I opened the email for this premiere, the word that immediately jumped off the screen at me was “grief.” I know about grief. It’s a years-old, deep, jagged wound in my chest that feels like it may never fully heal. When my mother died in 2017, the way I described it was a feeling of having my roots ripped out of the earth and suddenly I was floating – untethered. So watching and listening to Nicole Marxen’s stunning video for her track “Tether,” all I could think about was those years I spent with nothing to ground me. The woman who brought my physical body into existence, who nurtured my soul, was gone – so who the fuck was I then, and what was I supposed to do now? Tethered to her life, tethered now to her death and the grief that surrounded my every waking moment. And then I read that this record, and this song, are about Nicole’s grief for her mother. Her mother’s death. And then the sound of a pulsating heartbeat that led me into the song, reminding me of the first heart I had ever heard, made sense. The depths of pain in this song are like digging a pit so deep that I could hide forever in it, or maybe I can climb the skyscraping ethereal melodies in order to hear my mother’s voice in my dreams again. This is a song that claws at me and reminds me of my pain, but it also reminds me that I’m not floating anymore. My wounds are healing because I’ve learned to heal myself. I’m grounded because I learned to ground myself. All I can say to Nicole is, thank you for sharing this with us. Her debut solo record Tether comes out February 26th and can be pre-ordered here and pre-saved here. You can read the artist’s and the director’s words below, and watch our exclusive premiere of the visual for “Tether.”
“Tether” is about navigating the vast landscape of loss. In many ways, it was a crucial first step in my own grieving process and self-discovery as a songwriter. My earlier music ventures were very much rooted in showmanship; I hadn’t explored such personal vulnerability in my work before. The song serves as a reminder to carry my love and pain with me.
– Nicole Marxen
The track is already so inherently cinematic. My hope was to make something that dovetailed with that and felt like a cathartic communion between daughter and mother.
Nicole trusted me to go through archived home video footage in search of her mother, and there were all these beautiful little moments that wrecked me. These childhood glimpses of trips to El Salvador with her mom and joyful family times. It was overwhelming. But it was absolutely essential to connecting what we had filmed with her childhood, and to bringing her mother’s presence to the film.
– Judd Myers, director
Featuring: Nicole Marxen
Director: Judd Myers
DP: Kyle Montgomery
Colorist: Neil Anderson
Special Thanks to Christian Vasquez, Paperlyte, FLOCC
For Laura & Valentino