Dave Meyers Talks Directing ‘The Keys Of Christmas’ & The Future Of Music Videos
Much like Little X and Hype Williams, director Dave Meyers has helped contemporary pop and hip-hop favorites with memorable visuals.
Whether you know it or not, Meyers has been the creator of some your favorite music videos. After starting his career in the 90’s bringing to life tracks by Master P (“Ghetto D”), Juvenile (“Back That Thang Up“) and the late Notorious B.I.G (What’s Beef”), the Cali native gained notoriety after hitting creative ground with visuals for Missy Elliot, Outkast and P!nk in the 2000’s.
Meyers is back at it again, this time working with YouTube Red to direct their first holiday music special, “The Keys of Christmas.” DJ Khaled acts as a guardian angel to YouTube musician Rudy Mancuso, with the two go on a journey to find joy and love in the holidays. Cameos fill the special with Fifth Harmony, Mike Tyson and Mariah Carey as a very glamours Ghost of Christmas Past. In true Meyers form, there’s plenty of catchy choreography.
VIBE chatted with Meyers over email about the holiday special, working with Mariah Carey and the progression of music videos.
Check out the interview, along with a few teasers from the special below.
VIBE: What can you tell us about YouTube Red’s “The Keys of Christmas?”
Dave Meyers: It’s the best Christmas special ever.
How was it working with Mariah Carey and DJ Khaled?
DJ Khaled is the spirit of goodness in human form. Mariah is the Christmas spirit in human form, plus she is heavenly to watch sing up close and personal. Truly a rare treat.
What are the keys of Christmas?
Love. Family. Giving. Caring.
What are some of your favorite holiday jams?
Jackson 5 – “Little Drummer Boy,” Mariah Carey – “All I want for Christmas is You,” and “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” (by anybody).
You’ve directed so many videos that really defined the 2000’s. What are your favorites?
They’re like children; it’s hard to pick favorites. But that aside, Outkast “Bombs over Baghdad,” Missy Elliott “Lose Control” & “WTF,” Rihanna “Where Have You Been,” Katy Perry “Firework” and most recently Pink “Just Like Fire.”
How do you feel about music videos and their reach today?
Better than ever. I love it. We can track how well one does, how popular it is, what the comments are, and so forth. We’re in a culture now where filmmakers must strive to “stand out” instead of back in the day when everyone was pressed to “fit in.” So I feel like that insists creativity to be at an all-time high, artists tend to be much more open-minded, and the celebration of diversity is bigger than it ever was.
People can now take courses to learn how to film on iPhones. What do you think that says the progression of film?
I think it means that the “infrastructure” cost of film will not hold back an incredible mind. It means established filmmakers will need to work harder to stand out. The deluge of bad content will go up, for sure. So that also ensures job security, as the fans will become weary of bad content and crave good content eventually, if not already. Lastly, it provides the opportunity to create “experiences” that are different than things we’ve seen before. In short, it’s exciting with a healthy balance of pros and cons.
Anything else we should know about “The Keys of Christmas”? Any fun memory or moment on set?
I really enjoyed shooting Ciara’s scene. There was something about it that felt bigger than what we were doing. She was there in New York, surrounded by her dancers, crowds forming just off camera, but no drama. And then, as I looked through the camera, there was more: This magic sparkle in her eye, this place she was at in her life in that moment, that she shared with us. Her smile to me felt sincere and personal. She was really, really happy inside and out, and we captured it. Being that it was a Christmas special, that was gold for me. Beyond that, I found every scene with Rudy to be tremendously fun to direct. He’s wonderful in a way that I imagine Eddie Murphy to be. He can play lots of characters, has a sharp, solid understanding of those personas and deep love for the nuance of them, and to be trusted to depict all of them in one film felt special, like filming a savant.
Check out the trailer for “The Keys of Christmas” below and subscribe to YouTube Red for free to watch it in full here.