Atlanta-based director Connor Christensen and East Atlanta musician Phay joined forces in 2019 for a creative collaboration that brought to life the visually stunning music video for Phay's song "No Temptations." The synergy between the director and musician, combined with the overall vibes of the crew, resulted in a project that resonated deeply with both artists and viewers alike at ATLFilmParty Cycle 4, Season 1, where the music video showcased as a finalist.

The connection between Christensen and Phay began through a mutual friend, Abijeet Achar, a director and cinematographer also based in Atlanta. Achar, who had worked with Christensen previously, introduced the director to Phay, sparking a creative relationship that would lead to the production of "No Temptations." Christensen immediately found himself drawn to working with Phay, citing the musician's way with words and comical spirit as key factors.

The location for the music video played a significant role in capturing the essence of the song. Christensen described the chosen setting as "opulent and beautiful," providing the perfect backdrop for Phay's performance. The wide-open space the location provided added depth to the narrative, particularly in scenes where Phay performs for his mother, conveying a sense of intimacy amidst grandeur.

“[I decided to] put Phay in an American bandstand-style setting with his full band…they hammed it up and I loved everything they were doing,” Christensen commented on the nostalgic charm of “No Temptations.” With the help of a vintage Cooke lense, Christensen infused the video with retro vibes and warmth. His attention to detail results in a simply stunning video that really adds to Phay’s songwriting skills and the emotions that are present in the lyrics.

Phay expressed his appreciation for the collaborative atmosphere on set, highlighting the efficiency and professionalism of the team.

“I remember walking in and everything was done for me…and I’m independent; I have no manager, I do everything myself,” the set Christensen led was the stark contrast to other videos Phay had performed in. “Everybody is just hands on and it was just so efficient.”

Despite the challenges of long hours and minimal sleep, Phay found himself energized by the creativity and camaraderie of the environment. From the choreography to the set design, every aspect of the production reflected a shared commitment to excellence.

For Phay, the experience of working on "No Temptations" was deeply meaningful, representing a culmination of his cultural influences and personal identity. As a product of both American and Palestinian cultures, Phay's music embodies a fusion of diverse influences, a theme echoed in the visual storytelling of the music video.

“I was born in the States in Chicago, but I grew up in a very cultural home…it felt like, I guess a little Palestine,” Phay explained to AFPZine. “I think ['No Temptations'] is the combination of those cultures and you hear it in the music sometimes with different references. I am a product of both cultures: both American and Palestinian.”

“No Temptations” was in great company at ATLFilmParty Cycle 4, Season 1. Follow this link to learn more about how to connect with Connor Christensen and view his work. Additionally, AFPZine readers can delve deeper into Phay’s catalog, or follow Phay on Instagram for updates on new releases.